Wind energy in Great Britain last week generated over a third of the country’s electricity, more than any other power source including natural gas, and highlighting the increasing importance of wind energy for securing the country’s power independence.
RenewableUK, the country’s renewable energy trade body representing wind and hydro technologies, said data provided by independent analysts Aurora Energy Research showed that 35.6% of Great Britain’s (as distinct from the United Kingdom, as these figures do not include Ireland) electricity was provided by wind energy.
Of this total, 21.4% came from offshore wind alone.
According to Aurora, the next biggest contributor in the week between Friday 8 of March to Thursday 14 was natural gas with 31.2% of total electricity generation, nuclear energy with 21.3%, biomass with 6.7%, coal with only 2.6%, 1.8% from hydroelectricity, and 0.8% from other sources.
Western Europe has been experiencing strong windy weather of late – as highlighted by recent power generation figures from Germany, which has sourced increasingly higher levels of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources (64.9%, 67.6%, 72.4% over the past three weeks).
“We’ve had a very blustery week, and that’s good news because wind has outstripped every other power source,” said RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Emma Pinchbeck. “It’s further proof that wind is playing a central role in keeping Britain powered up at a chilly time of the year.
“It’s also interesting to see that offshore wind outperformed nuclear this week – showing the way our modern energy mix is changing, with low-cost wind energy becoming the backbone of our clean energy system.
“This comes just after last week’s announcement of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, which will see our industry grow to support 27,000 highly-skilled jobs by 2030, and the UK’s offshore wind supply chain generating billions every year in exports, as well as providing more goods and services for offshore wind projects in UK waters.”
Indeed, the UK’s Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry announced on March 7 the long-awaited Offshore Wind Sector Deal which is intended to increase the development of the country’s offshore wind industry to a point where it will provide a third of all UK electricity by 2030, as well as tripling “green collar” jobs.
“This new Sector Deal will drive a surge in the clean, green offshore wind revolution that is powering homes and businesses across the UK, bringing investment into coastal communities and ensuring we maintain our position as global leaders in this growing sector,” said Claire Perry, Energy & Clean Growth Minister.
“By 2030 a third of our electricity will come from offshore wind, generating thousands of high-quality jobs across the UK, a strong UK supply chain, and a fivefold increase in exports. This is our modern Industrial Strategy in action.”
The Sector Deal – “Partnerships between the government and industry on sector-specific issues can create significant opportunities to boost productivity, employment, innovation, and skills” in support of the country’s Industrial Strategy policy – will see the UK offshore wind industry invest£250 million and look to increase the country’s offshore wind capacity to 30 GW.
The Deal will also focus on increasing the benefit for local communities and supply chains and grow the international competitiveness of regional development areas such as the North East, East Anglia, Humber, and the Solent.
“Now that we’ve sealed this transformative deal with our partners in government, as a key part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy, offshore wind is set to take its place at the heart of our low-carbon, affordable and reliable electricity system of the future,” said Benj Sykes, Ørsted UK Country Manager for Offshore and Co-Chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC), which was involved in negotiations with the Government.
“This relentlessly innovative sector is revitalising parts of the country which have never seen opportunities like this for years, especially coastal communities from Wick in the northern Scotland to the Isle of Wight, and from Barrow-in-Furness to the Humber.
Companies are burgeoning in clusters, creating new centres of excellence in this clean growth boom. The Sector Deal will ensure that even more of these companies win work not only on here, but around the world in a global offshore wind market set to be worth £30 billion a year by 2030.”
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.