Scotland paving renewable energy path in a big way

  • close This May 6, 2013 file photo shows a wind turbine farm near Glenrock, Wyo.

    Matt Young/AP/File View Caption

Scotland isn’t known for having the most pleasant weather.

But its persistent winds make the country a great place for renewable energy.

Over the past few years, officials have overseen the construction of numerous wind turbines, in hopes of turning Scotland’s weather into a useful resource.

Those plans finally came to fruition August 7, when gusts of wind produced enough electricity to power all of Scotland for the first time, according to The Washington Post.

This put Scotland into an elite club of nations that have powered themselves for periods of time using only renewable energy.

Other countries that have pulled off that feat include Costa Rica, Denmark, and Portugal.

Since August 7, Scotland has reportedly achieved 100-percent renewable power multiple times.

On a regular basis, more than half of Scotland’s electricity comes from renewable sources, and the country is targeting a consistent 100 percent as soon as 2020.

Scotland’s current position as a renewable-energy leader is the result of roughly a decade of concerted efforts to wean the country off fossil fuels.

Scotland sits atop large oil and gas reserves, but Scots came to the consensus that those resources would eventually run out, meaning alternatives would need to be found.

It should also be noted that there has never been any question in Scotland as to whether climate change is a man-made phenomenon, according to The Washington Post.

Scotland has closed its last coal-fired power plant, and officials have diligently fast-tracked renewable-energy projects.

However, Scotland must still work against the U.K. government, which reportedly plans to emphasize nuclear power and hydraulic fracturing to obtain new supplies of fossil fuels—otherwise known as fracking.

As a result of this policy, subsidies for solar and onshore wind power have been slashed, one of several factors deepening the long divide between the U.K. and Scotland.

The majority of Scots also disapproved of Britain’s June “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union.

That vote is expected to have an adverse effect on renewable energy in Britain, since the country will no longer be required to meet lower EU carbon-emissions targets.

But Scotland is committed to renewable energy regardless.

Now that the country has a handle on electricity supply, officials hope to target other areas—such as heating and transportation—for renewable-energy use as well.

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