Scottish Power plans to squeeze more renewable electricity from its onshore windfarms by covering the ground beside the turbines with photovoltaic panels and batteries. The wind power firm has applied for permission to build its first solar power projects beneath the blades of its existing windfarms in Cornwall, Lancashire and Coldham.
Scottish Power says it hopes to include solar panels in the vast majority of its future onshore windfarms across Scotland and Ireland, depending on whether the ground conditions are suitable for panels.
Keith Anderson, Scottish Power’s chief executive, said: “Every green megawatt of electricity will be crucial if we stand any chance of hitting net zero in 2050. This means squeezing the absolute maximum potential out of every clean energy project that we consider.”
The company’s renewable energy division has considered almost 100 sites in Scotland and Ireland for a new breed of windfarm that uses fewer powerful turbines and can be fitted with solar panels and batteries. In some cases, adding 10MW panels and 10MW of energy storage could double the green energy capacity of small windfarm sites.
Scottish Power is developing more than 1,000MW of new onshore wind capacity, however the U.K. will need to build at least this capacity of onshore wind every year for the next three decades if it hopes to meet its 2050 climate targets, according to the Committee on Climate Change.
Anderson said: “In the next 18 months I believe hybrids will be the new normal for all renewable energy developers.”