Big fans: Wind powers half of UK’s energy needs with new record generation day
Wind power generated record amounts of energy earlier this week, topping 21 gigawatts for the first time ever on Tuesday evening.
Blustery conditions have powered wind generation to a new peak, with generation across the UK’s turbines rising over the New Year.
National Grid’s electricity system operator (NGESO) confirmed that between 6pm and 6.30pm on Tuesday 10th January, it generated 21.6GW in power – providing 50.4 per cent of the UK’s energy mix.
This is the most wind has ever generated, and beats the previous record of 20.9GW set on 30 December, which was the third wind energy record set last year.
Industry body RenewableUK has been tracking electricity produced by low carbon sources such as renewables and nuclear throughout the winter and posting updates every fortnight.
Its latest calculations show low carbon power sources produced 82.5 per cent of Britain’s electricity in the post-Christmas window from the 27 December to 9 January.
This cut gas demand by 1.31bn cubic meters, which would have cost £2.1 billion.
RenewableUK’s chief executive Dan McGrail urged the Government to make the most of wind power’s continued growth in generation.
He said: “With public support for renewables also hitting new record highs, it’s clear we should be trying to maximise new investment in renewables to increase our energy security.”
Government targets wind power scale-up
The Government is targeting a vast ramp up in offshore wind power over the current decade – aiming to boost generation from 11GW to 50GW by the end of the decade.
It has also finally agreed to liberalise planning laws for onshore wind – which generates 14GW within the UK’s energy mix.
The latest record breaking results for wind follow NGESO’s report into energy generation last year.
It revealed on 29 January 2022, wind generated a record 64 per cent of the UK’s energy mix.
The report also revealed that zero carbon electricity sources such as renewables alongside nuclear generated over 50 per cent of the UK’s energy in February, May, October, November and December.
They even managed to outperform traditional fossil fuel generation over the last 12 months by providing 48.5 per cent of the electricity used this year, compared to 40 per cent from gas and coal power stations.
Nevertheless, there are still swings with wind generation – which is an intermittent power source.
In November, the UK wind power industry dropped from producing 16.4 GW to generating just 0.4 GW – contributing to a supply crunch that triggered early phase emergency measures from National Grid.
The UK avoided blackouts over December and early January through a mixture of gas supplies, interconnectors and a revival of renewables after Christmas.