A NEW record has been set for total wind power output in Scotland, prompting calls for even more wind farms to be built.

Output in March jumped by over four-fifths compared with the same period last year with wind power generating the equivalent of 58 per cent of Scotland’s entire electricity needs for the month.

However, while the figures are welcomed by environmentalists, politicians in Scotland have been urged to back onshore wind power if carbon emissions are to be cut in the most cost-effective way.

Analysis by WWF Scotland of data provided by WeatherEnergy found that turbines in Scotland provided 1,240,095MWh of electricity to the National Grid, enough to supply on average the electrical needs of 136 per cent of Scottish households or 3.3 million homes – an increase of 81 per cent on March 2016, when wind energy provided 684,632MWh.

The previous highest recorded March output figure was in 2015, when 1,006,018MW was sent to the grid. Other months have recorded higher total outputs.

Scotland’s total electricity consumption for last month was 2,146,872MWh. On March 17 and 19, turbines generated output equivalent to more than the country’s total power needs for each entire day – equivalent to 102 per cent and 130 per cent.

Lang Banks, WWF Scotland’s director, said: “Given this March wasn’t as windy as it has been in some previous years, this year’s record output shows the importance of continuing increase capacity by building new wind farms.

“As well as helping to power our homes and businesses, wind power supports thousands of jobs and continues to play an important role in Scotland’s efforts to address global climate change by avoiding millions of tonnes of carbon emissions.

“However, the UK Government’s decision to end support for onshore wind is going to make meeting our international climate obligations much harder in the future. The reality is that if we’re serious about cutting carbon pollution in the most cost-effective way, then we need every one of the political parties in Scotland to back the continued deployment of onshore wind power.

“It’s only with political backing for onshore wind from all of the parties that Scotland will be able to maximise the benefits to its economy, as we transition to a renewable future.”

Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy added: “It’s massively impressive how Scotland has steadily grown its wind power output over the years. The total output from turbines this March was up more than four-fifths compared to the same period last year. This was enough power to provide the equivalent of the electrical needs of over three million homes. It meant the equivalent of almost three-fifths of Scotland total electricity needs during March were met by onshore wind power.”