UK Wind Surge: 10% Of December Electricity

It was a merry month of December for wind power in the United Kingdom. Wind turbines there, many in world-leading offshore arrays, sent 2,8410,000 megawatt-hours of electricity to grid operator National Grid – 10 percent of Britain’s total electricity demand during the month, according to the industry group RenewableUK.

“This is a towering achievement for the British wind energy industry,” RenewableUK deputy chief executive Maf Smith said in a statement. “It provides cast-iron proof that the direction of travel away from dirty fossil fuels to clean renewable sources is unstoppable.”

London Array

image via London Array

Opposite to what the U.S. experiences, demand for electricity in the U.K. is higher in the winter than in the summer, giving added value to wintertime wind energy production.

Generation from wind has been on a general upward trend in Britain as more capacity has been added, with most of the new turbines coming in giant projects out at sea, like the 630-megawatt London Array that went fully online in 2013 to become the world’s largest offshore wind farm. It beat out another U.K. project, 500-megawatt Great Gabbard.

The previous record for monthly wind energy production in the U.K. was 1,956,437 MWh in October, RenewableUK said.

The biggest week during the big month of December was that one that began on Monday, Dec. 16; that week saw wind provide 13 percent of total electricity in the nation. On Saturday, Dec. 21, 17 percent of the electricity demand – 132,812 MWh – came from wind.

RenewableUK noted that, if anything, theses statistic undercount wind’s actual contribution: “The statistics refer to the amount of electricity monitored by National Grid. The amount of electricity generated by wind is in fact even greater, as some smaller wind farms generate onto local networks and their output is not recorded by National Grid.”

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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