Wind Power Breaks Records in Britain, but Gas Remains on Top
A record amount of electricity in Great Britain was produced by wind farms in 2022, but most of its power still came from gas-fired plants, according to the National Grid.
Wind farms provided 26.8 percent of Britain’s electricity last year, up from 21.8 percent in 2021, reported Reuters.
The biggest offshore wind farm in the world, the North Sea’s Hornsea 2 — which is located off the Coast of Yorkshire and came into operation in August of last year — can power about 1.4 million homes.
“The fact that the UK’s onshore and offshore wind farms keep setting new electricity generation records shows just how important this technology has become in our modern energy system,” said CEO of RenewableUK Dan McGrail, Energy Live News reported.
In 2022, 38.5 percent of Britain’s electricity came from gas-fired power plants, an increase of 0.7 percent from the previous year, reported Reuters.
Electricity imports showed a marked decline, however, decreasing from 10.3 percent in 2021 to 5.5 percent last year, in part because of France’s troubles with its nuclear fleet.
For Great Britain to reach its goal of net zero emissions by 2050 it will have to significantly increase its generation of renewable power like solar and wind.
The National Grid’s electricity system operator (ESO) reported that a new wind generation record had been set on December 30 of 2022 when turbines produced 20.91 gigawatts, The Guardian reported.
Coal produced only 1.5 percent of Britain’s power last year, down from 43 percent a decade earlier, the ESO said.
Last year, cabinet ministers in the UK rushed to come up with back-up plans to supply power in the event that a cold weather snap caused a disruption or Russian supplies abruptly stopped.
As it turned out, overall the UK’s winter weather has been unseasonably mild, and gas prices have dropped.
In general, 48.5 percent of power came from renewables and nuclear power last year, while gas and coal supplied 40 percent, reported BBC News.
Since 2015, there has been an effective ban on onshore wind in the UK. However, in December 2022 Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agreed to ease restrictions on onshore wind turbines.
“Our old-fashioned energy grid urgently needs investment to maximise the opportunity that wind and solar offer to continue to reduce bills,” Head of Energy at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit Jess Ralston told BBC News.
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