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Hurricane Bertha breaks wind energy records in UK, where world-leading solar capacity also now powers 6% of households

Date
14 August 2014
Hurricane Bertha breaks wind energy records in UK, where world-leading solar capacity also now powers 6% of households

LONDON: Recent stormy conditions in the UK resulted in record-breaking wind power output, in a week when the nation can also boast new world-leading solar PV capacity capable of generating 6% of domestic electricity.

Stormy conditions wrought by Hurricane Bertha resulted in a surge in domestic wind power which on Sunday night met 17% of UK electricity demand, trade association RenewableUK has reported.

Between 9:30-10:00pm, British wind turbines generated 5,007 megawatts (MW), a significant increase on the previous August’s highest generation of 4,064 MW. Indeed, in 2012, August wind generation stood at just 3,331 MW.

Jennifer Webber, Director of External Affairs, RenewableUK told The Climate Group: “These latest figures show that wind is continuing to provide a significant proportion of the UK’s electricity all year round, including the hot summer months, outstripping the contribution from traditional carbon-heavy sources like coal.

The UK is home to a thriving wind industry and a world leader in offshore wind. At present, the 531 UK wind farms which are comprised of 4,246 individual wind turbines, typically provide 7.5% of the nation's electricity – an important contribution toward meeting the government target of generating 15% of domestic electricity from renewable sources.

The new wind record also coincides with a landmark achievement for the British solar industry. This week, the UK became the sixth country in the world to have an installed capacity of 5 GW of solar PV.

Furthermore, analysis from Solarbuzz reveals that 90% of PV capacity came online in just the last three years, highlighting the rapid growth of the emerging sector. Today, solar PV, which is mostly located in the South West and South East of England, generates nearly 6% of UK electricity.

Damian Ryan, Policy Manager at The Climate Group, previously argued for greater support for the UK clean energy sector which today employs over 100,000 people. Referencing a recent report from the Renewable Energy Agency in partnership with Innovas and PwC, he noted the industry “is an increasingly important engine for sustainable growth in the UK.”

“The renewable energy sector needs ‘long, loud and legal’ investment certainty from the government, not just because of the role it plays in addressing climate change but also because it matters more and more to the long-term economic health of the UK”, Damian affirmed.

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Image credit: Wind Turbine by Lamoix/Flickr

By Alana Ryan

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