The UK wind industry is booming, according to latest figures and surveys which show that not only was January another bumper month for the industry, but it is also getting increased public support.
The UK’s renewable energy trade body, RenewableUK, provided details on two separate announcements this past week, starting with new figures from National Grid for January, which showed that wind energy broke new records for weekly, monthly, and half-hourly generation.
According to figures from National Grid, January was the UK’s most productive month ever for wind energy, generating 4.13 terawatt hours, or 14% of Britain’s electricity — that’s enough to power the equivalent of 8.7 million UK homes.
January also saw the breaking of the weekly record, with 1,119 GWh generated, and half-hourly records on the 2nd of January, when wind energy supplied 31% of the country’s electricity demand.
“The past few months have seen significantly high levels of generation for wind energy and January was no exception,” said RenewableUK’s Director of External Affairs, Jennifer Webber. “It’s great to see wind making such a positive contribution to Britain’s clean energy needs at a cold time of year when we need it most, and this can only continue with greater capacity coming online – reaching 12 gigawatts is an achievement which the industry and the nation can be proud of.”
A day later, a new survey released by the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change showed that support for onshore wind farms had increased to 68% of the public, while total opposition dropped to its lowest level of 10%.
The survey also showed that support for offshore wind remained solid at 74%, as well as an increase in support for the country’s wave and tidal energy industry, which crept up to 74% as well.
Thankfully, public support for fracking dropped to 24%.
“It’s great to see public support for onshore wind is increasing, with more than two-thirds of people consistently saying they want Britain to make use of it, and that support for offshore wind and wave & tidal energy remains even higher,” said RenewableUK’s Director of Policy, Dr Gordon Edge.
“That’s why it’s so hard to understand why the Conservative party is turning its back on onshore wind, threatening to kill off the industry if it wins the next election. Independent polls show that David Cameron is totally wrong to claim that people are “fed up with” onshore wind – they show the reverse is actually true, and that being anti-wind is a net vote loser.”
And it’s a big issue, as RenewableUK’s Chief Executive, Maria McCaffery, discussed in a recent piece she wrote for BusinessGreen.