Blustery winter weather has pushed Great Britain to a new electricity generation record, with the country’s fleet of wind turbines generating a record 17.3GW of electricity at its peak last Friday afternoon.
According to Great Britain’s Electricity System Operator National Grid (National Grid ESO), between 1pm and 1:30pm on Friday, wind power produced an average 17.278GW of electricity, accounting for 43.2% of the power mix at the time.
While the record for wind’s share of British electricity wasn’t broken – which stands at 59.9% recorded in August – the new record highlights the importance of Great Britain’s increasing number of onshore and offshore wind farms.
All combined, at the time National Grid ESO reported the record breaking generation figures, Great Britain’s clean energy sources were generating 74% of the country’s total electricity.
“It’s great to see our onshore and offshore wind farms have smashed another record, generating more power on a cold December day than ever before, just when we need it most,” said Melanie Onn, Deputy Chief Executive of the United Kingdom’s wind, storage, and wave & tidal trade association RenewableUK.
“We expect to see many more records set in the years ahead, as the Government has made wind energy one of the most important pillars of its energy strategy for reaching net zero emissions as fast and as cheaply as possible. This new record is an early Christmas present we can all celebrate.”
The previous record of 17.1GW was set on January 2, but we can expect to see these records repeatedly broken as the UK continues to build out its onshore and offshore wind farms.
The UK Government has committed to building 40GW of offshore wind by 2030 – building from the 10GW of offshore wind currently operating today – while RenewableUK predicts that as much as 30W of onshore wind capacity could be installed by the same time, up from a current figure of 14GW.
RenewableUK published figures in early November which predicted that the current pipeline of onshore wind development could lead to a total of 30,361MW of onshore wind installed by the end of 2029 – with the largest share of development expected from 2025 onwards.
“Now that onshore wind is firmly back on the table, companies are bringing forward projects at a scale that can make a huge contribution to building back greener,” said Rebecca Williams, RenewableUK’s Head of Policy and Regulation.
“Onshore wind is one of the cheapest ways to generate clean power and we can ramp up this technology rapidly to reach net zero emissions.
“Next year’s auction for new clean energy contracts is a crucial step in unlocking the new jobs and investment that onshore wind can deliver as part of the green recovery. Our latest forecast shows what’s possible, but we need the right policy levers and regulation in place to make it happen.”