Last month saw the UK celebrate 25 years of wind power, with the first wind farm in the country switching on ten turbines back in 1991.
Renewables company Good Energy now owns the Delabole Wind Farm in North Cornwall, purchased the site back in 2002. And in 2010, it invested almost £12 million to have the small turbines replaced with four more powerful ones, which more than doubled the installed capacity of the wind farm to 9.2MW.
Since it first opened in 1991, the wind farm has generated an impressive 340GH of power – which is apparently enough to cook over 40 million turkeys or boil 3.4 billion kettles. Good Energy puts the wind farm’s success down to support from the local community, perhaps unsurprising given that those in the area are able to take advantage of renewable electricity at discounted rates – an idea pioneered by Good Energy.
Original owner of Delebole Peter Edwards commented on the anniversary, saying: “After the wind farm started generating, one of the main criticisms was that the amount we contributed to the National Grid was so insignificant that we shouldn’t have bothered. That’s why it’s so satisfying to see just how far wind energy has come and how it now competes with nuclear. As Bob Dylan once wrote, ‘the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind’.”
It’s certainly interesting to see just how far wind power in the UK has come since 1991. According to RenewableUK, there are now over 1,000 commercial-scale wind energy projects in the UK operating on and offshore, which are able to meet the yearly electricity needs of more than 9,500,000 homes in Britain.
In the past 25 years, on and offshore wind energy here in the UK has seen more than 185 million MWh generated enough to power more than a quarters of a billion computers for one year. And a quarter of the nation’s electricity now comes from renewable sources, half of which is from wind alone. This means that the UK has avoided burning over 106 million tonnes of coal over the last 25 years.
Commenting on the news of the anniversary, RenewableUK’s Executive Director, Emma Pinchbeck said: “Wind is now a mainstream power source in Britain, outperforming and replacing old fashioned coal. It’s a crucial part of our new energy system, which is designed to deliver the energy the country needs in the smartest way possible.”
There certainly seems to be no stopping wind power at the moment. A recent report from the Global Wind Energy Council found that wind power could supply some 20 per cent of electricity demand globally come the year 2030, which would see carbon emissions reduced by more than 3.3 billion tonnes annually. Given this, the sector would be able to attract investments worth around £178 billion, creating 2.4 million new jobs in the next 14 years as a result.
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