A CALL for the UK Goverment to reverse its “deeply damaging” energy policy has been made on the back of new figures that show a huge surge in Scotland’s windpower output.

The data reveals that wind power output jumped by over two-fifths compared with the same period last year and generated more than Scotland’s total electricity needs on four separate days.

The figures come hard on the heels of a warning that one in six jobs in the Scottish renewable energy sector is expected to be lost in the next year.

The predicted drop has been blamed on the closures of support schemes for renewables by the UK Government.

The SNP has now urged the Chancellor to use Wednesday’s Budget to secure the renewables sector.

Research by WeatherEnergy found that wind turbines in Scotland last month generated enough electricity to the National Grid to supply, on average, the electrical needs of 3.9 million homes. This represents an increase of 43 per cent on February last year, when wind energy provided 929,417MWh compared with 1,331,420MWh this year.

Scotland’s total electricity consumption, including homes, business and industry, for February was 1,984,765MWh, meaning that wind power generated the equivalent of 67 per cent of Scotland’s entire electricity needs for the month.

The rise has been attributed to increased capacity as well as stronger winds than the same time last year.

“It is fantastic that Scotland is harnessing wind power to meet and exceed our electricity needs,” said SNP MSP Ivan McKee. “These latest figures show that this industry has an amazing future – but it is clear that by cutting subsidies and favouring nuclear power, Tory energy policy is deeply damaging for Scotland’s thriving renewables sector.

“The SNP in government recognises the vital role renewables have to play in our continued economic prosperity and in protecting our environment which is why the draft Scottish Energy Strategy has already proposed an ambitious but achievable goal of a 50 per cent renewables target.

“There are around 21,000 people working in Scotland’s renewables sector who are doing a fantastic job and deserve to have the confidence of the UK Government as well instead of facing cut after cut, putting at risk jobs and livelihoods.

“The Tories must demonstrate they are committed to developing an effective, sustainable energy policy framework that will help cut energy bills and safeguard our environment for future generations.”

Environmental charity WWF Scotland also called for policies to build on the “amazing” progress already made.

“Thanks to a combination of increased capacity and stronger winds, output from turbines was up more than two-fifths compared to the same period last year,” said WWF Scotland director Lang Banks.

“Every one of the main political parties supports the aim of generating half of all Scotland’s energy needs from renewables by 2030 – including heat, electricity and transport.

“With this level of political backing, we call upon all of the parties to now bring forward policies that will help maximise the benefits to Scotland’s economy.”