ENVIRONMENTALISTS have welcomed a "flying start" to 2015 as new figures show wind turbines generated enough electricity to supply up to three and a half million households.

In January the turbines provided an estimated 1,307,629MWh of electricity to the National Grid. This represents an increase of 27 per cent compared to January 2014 and means that wind energy was supplying the needs of 146 per cent of Scotland's households.

As well as the wind conditions, according to figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change around 250 more wind turbines had become operational in Scotland in the 12 months before.

Meanwhile for homes fitted with solar PV panels, there was enough sunshine to generate an estimated 37 per cent of the electricity needs of an average home in Aberdeen, 30 per cent in Glasgow, and 24 per cent in Edinburgh.

For those fitted with solar hot water panels, there was enough sunshine in Aberdeen to generate an estimated 45 per cent of an average households hot water needs and 29 per cent in Edinburgh.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "While January's wintry weather caused havoc for many people, it also proved to be a good month for wind power output in Scotland, with enough pollution-free electricity generated to supply the needs of 146% of Scottish households.

"Even better, wind output was up by a quarter compared to the same period last year. Even on calmer days, when wind wasn't at its strongest, wind still generated enough to support the electricity needs of more than a quarter of our households.

"While January's wind output may have got 2015 off to a flyer, it's important to remember that household electricity demand only makes up two-fifths of Scotland's total needs.

"So, if we are to meet Scotland's aspiration to generate all of our electricity needs from renewables we still need to see more renewables deployed alongside a step change in energy efficiency."