Wind turbines in Scotland provided a 44 per cent increase in power to the National Grid during the first quarter of 2018, environmental groups say.

Analysis of WWF wind power data by WeatherEnergy found that in January alone, renewable wind from onshore turbines powered the equivalent of more than five million homes. The rise in electricity compares with the same period in 2017.

Dr Sam Gardner, WWF Scotland's acting director said: "Renewables have provided an incredible amount of power during the first three months of this year.

"An increase of 44 per cent on the record-breaking equivalent period in 2017 is clear evidence the investment made in this technology has paid off for the economy and the environment, putting Scotland at the forefront of the fight against climate change."

Scotland has become a world leader in sourcing its electricity from renewables and had a record year for creating eco-friendly energy in 2017.

Statistics published recently by the UK Government showed an increase of 26 per cent compared with the previous year.

Some 68.1 per cent per cent of overall electricity consumption in Scotland came from renewable sources, up 14.1 percentage points from 54 per cent in 2016.

Environmental groups say renewables overtook nuclear as the second biggest source of power UK-wide in quarter four of 2017.

But they also called for the UK Government to stop excluding cheaper power such as onshore, wind and solar from the market.

Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy, which provided the data for WWF said: "It's great to see renewables continuing to power Scotland, adding to the year on year evidence that greater investment in both renewables and storage is the way forward."