Strong weather brought by Cyclone Pia helped Britain’s windfarms set a new clean energy record, with wind turbines generating more than half of the country’s electricity.
Windfarms generated 21.8 gigawatts (GW) of electricity between 8am and 8.30am on Thursday, according to RenewableUK, a not-for-profit renewable energy trade association, citing figures from the National Grids electricity system operator ( ESO).
This beat the previous record of 21.6GW set on January 10. Wind generated 56% of Britain’s electricity, although it fell short of the record percentage of electricity generated from wind in a half-hour period, which 69% on 19 November this year.
Dan McGrail, chief executive of RenewableUK, said: Setting a new wind energy record is a huge achievement to celebrate this festive season. Wind power is at the heart of our modern clean energy mix, underpinning our energy security and continuing to power Britain through the coldest, darkest times of the year.
Cyclone Pia caused disruption across the UK, with gusts of up to 80mph in northern Britain blowing trees across railway lines.
The news came as Germanys RWE agreed to buy a vast collection of North Sea wind projects from Swedish power company Vattenfall for 963m. In July, Vattenfall halted work on the 1.4GW Norfolk Boreas offshore wind project in the North Sea, due to higher costs and challenging market conditions.
RWE said it will buy in the Norfolk Zone three fully consented wind farms comprising Norfolk Boreas, Norfolk Vanguard West and Norfolk Vanguard East.
One of the largest offshore wind developments in the world, it will eventually have a total capacity of 4.2GW, enough to power 4m homes.
On Wednesday Danish renewable energy firm rsted decided to go ahead with plans to build the world’s largest windfarm off the coast of Norfolk.
It has made a final decision to invest in the Hornsea 3 project off the coast of Britain, which has the capacity to house more than 3.3m homes and is expected to cost 70bn-75bn Danish kroner (8.1bn-8.7bn). It is due to be completed by the end of 2027.
The future of the project is uncertain after plans to build windfarms off the US coast were initially scrapped amid rising costs to the global wind industry from rising interest rates, steel prices and wages.
McGrail said: In the new year, the renewable energy industry will work with the government to ensure that we can increase investment in new projects, especially through the next auction for new clean energy projects, to lower everyone’s energy bills and get us going. net zero as fast as possible.
He called on ministers to be ambitious when they set new parameters in March for next summer’s auction, which he hopes will capture a record amount of new renewable energy capacity. and boost jobs in the sector.
The last offshore wind auction in September did not attract any bids, because the price of energy offered to developers did not take into account the high inflation of their costs. Industry insiders say the government’s mismanagement has created a huge deficit in the future of renewable energy.
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