For the first time in history, wind supplied more than a quarter of Britain’s electricity last year. This highlights the rapid growth of this energy source.
National Grid has released new figures that show wind is the second-largest source of electricity in 2022, providing 26.8pc.
This is a five-point increase compared to 2021.
Turbines produced 41.4% of the national supply during February’s windiest month. On December 30, a windy day saw turbines produce 20.918 gigawatts, the highest output by Britain’s expanding fleet.
After two large nuclear plants were shut down last year, wind now makes up a larger percentage of Britain’s electricity mix than nuclear.
Last year, the second-highest source of electricity from turbines was gas. It generated 38.5pc.
These figures show the dramatic change in the electricity mix over the past decade. This was first triggered by a push for reducing carbon emissions and then accelerated by Russia’s throttling gas supplies to Western countries.
In 2012, 40pc of the UK’s electricity was produced by coal. Wind accounted for only 5.5pc.
As new taller turbines are constructed, the proportion of wind in the mix increases. The UK is one of the most attractive markets to developers.
Orsted, the developer of Hornsea 2, began generating electricity in August. It is the largest wind farm in the world. It can produce enough power to power 1.4 million homes.
The higher wind mix on the system reduces carbon emissions but it can also cause problems in balancing electricity supplies because the wind is intermittent.
To develop batteries and cables that allow electricity from the wind to be stored and transported to the places it’s needed, a lot of work is required.
National Grid published a report on Friday that stated: “Electricity generated by wind turbines has continued its growth in importance for the operation of the national grid.”
The energy market is experiencing a very challenging year, which has led to growth in the last year.
Due to fears over supply shortages after Russia’s war against Ukraine, electricity prices have gone up sharply.
This increases the cost of producing electricity from a natural gas-fired plant. It also causes an increase in the overall price of electricity. Gas-fired power is vital to the system.
As the government tries to help consumers who are facing rising energy costs, wind farms and other renewable energy generators have benefited from higher prices.
Britain has also been affected by outages in France’s nuclear fleet, which have put pressure on its electricity supply. Britain is often dependent on France for some of its power.
National Grid has created a program that allows customers to be paid to reduce their electricity use in times of shortage, if necessary to balance the grid. This has been tested so far.
Last year, nuclear power stations produced 15.5pc in the electricity mix. The rest was supplied by imports (5.5pc), biofuel (5.2pc), photovoltaic (4.4pc), and hydropower (1.8pc), as well as coal (1.5pc), and storage (0.9pc).
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