The British wind energy industry is celebrating another milestone this week after the country’s grid operator revealed that wind generation hit new highs during the previous week, producing a new high of 14.9 gigawatts (GW), or around 33% of Britain’s electricity needs at a time of high demand.
The news was highlighted on Friday by the UK’s trade body for wind and marine technologies, RenewableUK, referring to data published by National Grid — the national grid operator in Great Britain — and Drax Electric Insights. The statistics reveal that Britain’s onshore and offshore wind farms generated a new high of 14.9 GW worth of electricity between 6:00 and 6:30pm on Wednesday 28 November. According to Drax Electric Insights, this equates to generating 33% of Britain’s electricity needs, beating the previous record set on November 9 of 14.5 GW.
Overall on Wednesday, National Grid statistics showed that wind generated 32.2% of Great Britain’s electricity, well in excess of that generated by natural gas, which accounted for only 23.5%, followed by nuclear at 17.9% and coal at only 8.7%.
Wind’s success last week was not limited to Wednesday and is likely due in large part to the excessive winds generated by Storm Diana which blew through Great Britain last week. According to Drax, wind turbines generated an average of 8.4 GW over 7 days, and regularly accounted for around 32% of the country’s electricity demands.
The record-breaking week was probably also partly due to the successful commissioning of the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm off the Sussex coast. Developed by E.ON, Rampion was successfully ramped up to full operation, according to a company announcement dated November 30, right in time to make the most of Storm Diana’s arrival.
“It’s great to see British wind power setting new records at one of the coldest, darkest, wettest times of the year, providing clean energy for people as they came home, switched everything on, turned up the power and cooked dinner,” said Emma Pinchbeck, RenewableUK’s Executive Director. “As well as tackling climate change, wind is good for everyone who has to pay an electricity bill, as the cost of new offshore wind has fallen spectacularly so it’s now cheaper than new gas and nuclear projects, and onshore wind is the cheapest power source of all.”