RenewableUK hails growth of wind sector after new half-hourly, daily and weekly power generation records are set over Christmas period
A trio of fresh records for wind power generation set over the recent Christmas period reflects the “great success story” of the UK’s wind energy sector over the past 25 years, according to trade body RenewableUK.
The latest National Grid figures, released yesterday by the trade body, reveal wind power performed strongly during the Christmas week, with new half-hourly, daily and weekly UK records set on 23, 24 and 25 December.
Wind power supplied a new high of 41 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs during a half-hour period on Christmas Day, eclipsing the previous record of 34 per cent set in January 2016, according to the data. And, during those 30 minutes, 47 per cent of the UK”s electricity came from renewable sources.
Moreover, a new daily record of 32 per cent of UK electricity generated by wind was set on Christmas Day, beating the previous high of 24 per cent set in October 2014.
Overall, renewables met 42 per cent of demand over the same 24 hour period – which Drax said last week was the highest ever figure for clean power generation on Christmas Day.
Over the course of the week ending on Christmas Day, 20 per cent of UK electricity was generated by wind, according to the figures, exceeding the previous 19 per cent record, with renewables providing 28 per cent of total generation that week.
RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Maf Smith said the record numbers show renewables are now a mainstream provider of electricity, capable of delivering reliable power to consumers not just at Christmas but the whole year round.
“The growth of wind energy across the UK over the past 25 years is a great success story which we can all be proud of, and it’s especially heartening to see that it was wind that helped to keep the Christmas lights on throughout the festive season,” said Smith.
Further positive news for renewable energy emerged from Scotland today, where analysis of government data by WWF Scotland reveals the average ‘climate change impact’ of generating a unit of electricity in the country is now half the UK average.
According to WWF, the climate change impact – measured as one gram of CO2 per kWh of power – of electricity generation in Scotland was 196g of CO2/kWh, compared to 400g CO2/kWh for the whole of the UK, equating to a difference of 204g, or 51 per cent.
WWF Scotland also found the climate change impact of energy had fallen by almost two-fifths, or 38 per cent, between 2010 and 2014, the most recent years for which data is available.
The climate change impact of power generation across the UK as a whole fell over the same period by just 12 per cent.
WWF Scotland’s climate and energy policy officer Fabrice Leveque welcomed the findings, but reiterated recent calls from several green groups for the Scottish government to repeat the power sector’s achievement across the heat and transport sectors.
“The transformation in the way we produce our power is helping Scotland harness the many economic and social benefits of shifting to a zero-carbon future,” he said in a statement. “But electricity accounts for just one quarter of our energy use, so if we’re to meet our future climate targets, the Scottish government must build on the progress made in the electricity sector to set a 50 per cent renewables target for all our energy needs, across electricity, heat and transport sectors, by 2030.”