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UK Hits New Renewables Record Thanks to Windy Weather

06 Dec 10:00 by Steve Walia

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Britain's wind farms have helped the UK to hit a new record for renewable electricity generation, with windy weather allowing them to generate over a third of the nation's total requirements in one week. Output during this period went as high as 14.9 GW.

While Storm Diana was bringing commuter chaos to the roads, airports and railway lines, wind farms were able to maximise the gusts of wind, managing to supply a third of total national needs on Wednesday evening between 6.00 and 6.30pm. This is a peak time for demand, and the new output level of 14.9 GW exceeded the previous record of 14.5GW.

The industry enjoyed another move forwards too, with the Rampion wind farm officially opening near Brighton. The offshore development is owned by E.ON and is the first of its kind located in the Channel, producing enough energy for 350,000 homes. It is the first of four such offshore developments that came online during the year, alongside projects in Aberdeen Bay, Cumbria and the Suffolk coast. The largest one in Cumbria has a capacity of 1,218 MW.

The National Grid also confirmed that the primary power source for the UK had come from wind turbines on Wednesday and Thursday, replacing gas power, which is typically in pole position.

Only a decade ago, wind farms were seen as niche energy production facilities and only represented 2pc of the national supply. Today their output hovers at around 15pc of Britain's total energy mix. Other huge developments are poised to move forward, with the vast Moray Firth development - at 588 MW of capacity - coming online next year. In 2020, the biggest producer will be located in East Yorkshire and generate 1,218 MW of clean and renewable power.