Strong winds help break UK green energy records

Strong winds, together with increases in capacity and greater load factors, helped increase wind powers contribution to the UK power grid from 11 per cent in 2016 up to 14.8 per cent last year.

by the Editor

Many UK clean energy records were broken in 2017 according to official government statistics released today (July 26th).

Almost 30% of power generated in the UK last year came from renewable sources, up from 25.4% in 2016 and a new record.

If nuclear power is included, the statistics from the Digest Of United Kingdom Energy Statistics (pdf) confirm that low carbon power generation contributed just over 50% of all power generated in the UK in 2017, up from 45.6% the previous year.

The amount of electricity generated by coal has been falling 27 per cent year-on-year and nuclear generation decreased by 1.9 per cent.

Carbon intensity of the UK’s power supply has fallen to record low levels with on average, a kilowatt hour of electricity generated last year produced 225 grams of C02, down from 483g in 2012.

Reported in RenewableUK their Executive Director Emma Pinchbeck said:

“Today’s record figures demonstrate how fast renewable energy is transforming the way we generate power to create an energy system fit for the future. This is a radical shift, and we will see ever more low-cost renewables meeting flexible demand from homes, electric vehicles and new manufacturing processes and industries.”
“It’s great to see that the UK’s cheapest power source, onshore wind, is making such a significant contribution to the nation’s power needs. So it’s baffling that Government is still excluding new onshore wind projects from the market place. Opinion polls show that two-thirds of people think Ministers should change their current policy and allow onshore wind to go ahead where it has local support, and most Conservative voters agree with them”.

Scotland has become a world leader in sourcing its electricity from renewables and hit a record year in 2017 with the country seeing 68.1% of gross electricity generated by wind and solar power.

UK Climate Minister Claire Perry plans to double the capacity of the offshore wind sector over the next decade through regular competitive power auctions.

The costs of developing wind farms on the UK coast have fallen dramatically, down as much as 50 per cent.

Several wind farms opened in 2017, including the 573MW Race Bank, the first half of the 660MW of Walney Extension, as well as the 402MW Dudgeon and final 59MW of the 259MW Burbo Bank Extension.

However other renewable technologies like onshore wind and solar remain unsupported by the current UK government.

Speaking to No2Nuclear Power Kate Blagojevic, Head of Energy at Greenpeace UK, said:

“Offshore wind’s enormous cost reduction makes it the logical choice to provide the backbone of the UK’s energy needs, and we welcome the government providing certainty for investors. But this fall in price is far from unique. Onshore wind is also getting cheaper all the time, and is now the UK’s cheapest electricity source. Solar has been dropping for so long that it has actually reduced in cost by an astonishing 99% since the technology was commercialised. This makes the government’s huge financial support for nuclear, the one low carbon source which keeps going up and up in price, all the more confusing and irrational. The government needs to listen to the recommendations of its advisers and ditch nuclear in favour of renewable energy, benefitting bill payers and the climate.”

New solar power installations in the UK have halved for the second year in a row, as a result of government subsidy cuts.

Environmental News Digest is also happy to report that Donald Trump is extremely annoyed that the view from his Scottish coastal golf course has been “spoiled” by the construction of an offshore windfarm.




UK offshore wind power to double by 2030 | The Week

Ikea Won’t Spend £524m Green Energy Pot In Britain Until Government Commits To Renewables | HuffPost

UK solar power grows slows for second year running | WebFG

Offshore Wind in the UK | Renewable Energy | European Energy Centre