Christmas has come early for those in the renewable energy sector here in the UK, with National Grid saying that both on and offshore turbines have just set a new record after they generated over 10,000 megawatts (MW) of clean electricity for the very first time.
Between 14:00 and 14:30 on December 8th, a record of 10,104MW was achieved, making up 23 per cent of total electricity demand in Britain at that time.
It certainly seems as though records of this nature will continue to be set and broken in the future as the UK looks to make further investments in offshore and onshore wind. Back in May, the UK had over ten gigawatts of offshore wind capacity either operating, under construction or with final investment decisions having been made. Come the year 2020, ten per cent of the country’s electricity needs will be provided by offshore wind, which already delivers five per cent of the power required.
During April of this year, we also saw wind generate more electricity than coal for an entire month for homes, businesses and factories in Britain. Some 2,290 gigawatt hours was generated by wind in the UK, while coal generated 1,755, figures from National Grid showed at the time.
RenewableUK’s executive director Emma Pinchbeck welcomed the reports that a new record has just been set, commenting: “It’s terrific to see wind power smashing another record. It shows that wind is playing an increasingly central role as a reliable part of our new modern energy system. As we install more wind power, more records will tumble. This is a Christmas clean energy bonus - not just for the renewable energy sector, but for all of us.”
Another recent report published by the Global Wind Energy Council back at the start of November suggested that wind power could in fact supply 20 per cent of all global electricity demand come the year 2030, which would help the sector drive down carbon emissions by more than 3.3 billion tonnes a year.
This is not just good news for the planet, but also for jobs worldwide. Since it’s possible that the sector could encourage investments worth around £178 billion, some 2.4 million jobs could be created over the next 14 years. So it certainly does seem as though it’s just the UK that is recognising the power of offshore and onshore wind, and the many benefits that focusing on this could bring in the future.
In November, the government reaffirmed its commitment to spend £730 million on renewable electricity projects over this parliament and will in due course be setting out more details relating to the next Contracts for Difference auction. This will see companies compete against each other for £290 million worth of contracts for renewable electricity jobs. This round of auctions will see enough renewable electricity generated to power about one million homes, also reducing carbon emissions by about 2.5 million tonnes annually from the year 2021/2022.
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