Renewable energy trade organisation RenewableUK has announced that the UK has reached a historic milestone of 20GW of wind generation capacity, with total operational capacity of on and offshore wind more than enough to meet the yearly power needs of over 14 million homes!
According to the group, this has also succeeded in slashing carbon emissions by 25 million tonnes a year, making wind the biggest source of renewable power in the UK right now… making up half of the 30 per cent of power that came from renewables back in 2017.
At the start of this month (September 6th), the biggest operational offshore wind farm in the world – Walney Extension – opened at a ceremony in Cumbria, pushing the total amount of wind generation capacity over the 20GW mark, now standing at 20,128MW.
The 659MW project, owned by Orsted, PFA and PKA, boasts 87 turbines, which are able to generate sufficient green energy to provide power to nearly 600,000 homes in the UK, covering an area of 145 km2 in the Irish Sea – making it Orsted’s 11th operational offshore wind farm in this country.
The first commercial onshore wind farm in the UK, Delabole in Cornwall, went live back in 1991, while the first offshore wind project – in Blyth – began generating power in the year 2000. This new milestone comes in time for the 40th anniversary of the founding of RenewableUK, which was originally known as the British Wind Energy Association.
Commenting on the news, Emma Pinchbeck – RenewableUK’s executive director – said: “It took 19 years to install the first 5GW of wind energy in the UK and we’ve now installed the same amount in under two years. That phenomenal growth shows just how quickly the UK is moving to a smart, low carbon power system and wind energy is at the heart of that.
“Over half of the UK’s wind energy capacity is onshore, which is the cheapest option for new power. However, government policy preventing onshore wind from competing for new power contracts means that consumers will miss out on low-cost power that will keep bills down.
“It was the opening of the world’s largest offshore wind farm that has took us over the 20GW mark. We’re confident that offshore wind alone can reach at least 30GW by 2030 to become the backbone of a clean, reliable and affordable energy system.”
Commenting on the opening of the Walney wind farm, Claire Perry – energy and clean growth minister – said that it helps the UK strengthen its worldwide leadership position, breaking records for the generation of renewable energy while simultaneously creating thousands of jobs into the bargain.
She went on to add that an additional £557 million in funding has now been made available for new projects, helping to address the issue of climate change while delivering clean growth for local economies.
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