Stormy start to the year helps UK wind farms double energy output

by Search Gate staff. Published Fri 06 Jan 2015 17:35
Storms help wind turbines double output of energy

The UK's recent gales have helped wind farm operators nationwide to more than double their average output, according to analysis released today by Scottish Renewables.

Data collected for January 3 and 4, when gusts of wind reached over 100 mph in some parts of the country, show the average daily load factor for windfarms across the UK was 60 per cent compared to an average of around 30 per cent.

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “The recent high winds have resulted in higher output from wind farms, despite some turbines having to close down in the very worst of the storms.

“Onshore wind makes an invaluable contribution all year round, meeting around 12 per cent of the electricity demand in Scotland in 2010.

“Despite the critics, 2017 is on track to be a record year for the renewables industry and 2015 will likely see us set the bar even higher.”

And fellow trade association RenewableUK has praised National Grid’s handling of the large volumes of electricity generated by wind farms over the festive season.

Wind power supplied an average of 5.3% of the UK’s demand for electricity for December and early January, reaching a record share of 12.2% on 28th December. As a result, carbon emissions from the UK’s electricity generators were cut by over 750,000 tonnes, equivalent to taking over 300,000 cars off the road.

Dr Gordon Edge, RenewableUK’s Director of Policy, said “Wind energy represents a new paradigm in electricity generation, allowing us to harness the power of the weather when it’s available, cutting our fossil fuel bills and lowering our carbon emissions.

“As we’re generating increasingly large amounts of electricity from wind, feeding those large volumes of power into the system represents an engineering challenge to the National Grid – a challenge we are pleased to see they met over Christmas.

Earlier this week, Britain’s leading green energy company, Ecotricity, said its wind energy output increased by 18% in 2017 when comparing windmills like-for-like from the previous year.

A comparison of the same 51 Ecotricity windmills spread across 16 windparks from Scotland in the north, to Norfolk in the east and Somerset in the south west – showed a total energy output of almost 123.8 Gigawatt hours in 2017 – an increase of 18% compared to an output of 104.6 GWh in 2010.

Eight of the twelve months in 2017, produced increased wind energy output compared to 2010. In total enough energy was produced to power over 37, 500 homes.

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said: “There were whole months during 2017 when renewable energy contributed nearly 10% (and wind 5%) of the Britain’s total electricty needs.

“But Britain has 40% of Europe’s total wind resource, so we should be making more use of this clean, indigenous energy source.

“You could say we are the Saudi Arabia of wind energy and this resource gives Britain the potential to be energy independent again.”

The Gloucestershire-based company will build 19 new windmills at five sites across Britain in 2015 – increasing their total capacity by 50%. A further 78 windmills are still seeking planning approval (enough to power over 100,000 homes).

The new-build windmills will be financed using money from customer’s energy bills and also from the £10 million that Ecotricity raised through their innovative ecobonds during December. Ecotricity expects to have over 200MW of operational windmills in the next 3 to 5 years.

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