Usage of wind turbines: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004

Information requested

1. What evidence is there that wind turbines and their associated infrastructure will change what the climate does?

2. What is Net Zero? How many more wind turbines and their associated infrastructure will reach that elusive target?

3. Where is the evidence of need for SSEN’s infrastructure proposals and the many wind turbines that will follow to hook into them?


1. Investing in renewable, green energy is part of our broader approach to helping prevent climate change by reducing the carbon emissions from energy production and fuel consumption. Carbon emissions are demonstrated to exacerbate climate change, so transitioning our energy mix to renewable energy is an important part of Scotland’s transition to Net Zero.

2. The deployment of onshore and offshore wind will support the decarbonisation of our energy system. It will not be enough in itself to reach Net Zero, which will require measures across a range of sectors including Energy, Transport, Agriculture and Land Use, Construction and Industry. Scotland’s target to reach net-zero emissions by 2045 has been set in legislation with the agreement of the Scottish Parliament in direct response to the international Paris Agreement which calls for global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, with rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with best available science "so as to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions [i.e. from human activity] by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century" (i.e. net zero). The target was set in line with advice from the Scottish Government’s independent expert advisers, the UK Climate Change Committee, on the UK's contribution to stopping global warming (May 2019) who, based on extensive evidence presented in their report, said that Scotland "should aim for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.” Scotland’s statutory emissions targets, set under the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019, are economy-wide and include all territorial greenhouse gas emissions and a fair share of those from international aviation and shipping, as well as territorial removals by carbon sinks. Opportunities in Scotland to remove and store carbon from the atmosphere are currently mainly associated with the carbon sink effects of grasslands, peatlands and forestry, as well as the carbon stored in wood products.

Wind turbines are being built to generate power. Wind energy was the primary contributor to Scotland's renewable electricity generation in 2022, accounting for 27.8TWh. The majority of electricity generated in Scotland is from wind technologies. In 2021, 41.2% of all electricity generated in Scotland came from wind. This is followed by nuclear (29.8%) and then hydro natural flow (hydroelectric) (10.3%) and gas (9.7%). There is not a set number of wind turbines that is required to reach the Net Zero.

3. National Grid Electricity System Operator, in response to the UK Government’s target to deliver 50GW of offshore wind by 2030, set out in the Pathway to 2030 Holistic Network Design a proposed recommended single integrated network design to connect 23GW of offshore wind. The Pathway to 2030 Holistic Network Design ESO ( tasks SSEN Transmission with undertaking the recommended infrastructure development in the North of Scotland.


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