Storm Pia recently caused disruptions and destruction throughout the U.K. as winds of over 80 miles per hour knocked over trees, closing roads and railways. However, there was one benefit to those winds, as they helped Britain’s wind turbines set a new clean energy record.
According to RenewableUK, a not-for-profit renewable energy trade association, wind farms in Britain generated 21.8 gigawatts (GW) of electricity between 8:00 a.m. and 8.30 a.m. on December 23, 2023 — a new record for a half-hour period. That beat out the previous record of 21.6 GW of wind energy generated on January 10 of the same year.
Over the record-setting half-hour period, wind generated an impressive 56% of Britain’s electricity.
“Setting a new wind energy record is a great achievement to celebrate during this festive period. Wind power is taking center stage in our modern clean energy mix, strengthening our energy security and keeping Britain powered up at the coldest, darkest time of the year,” said Renewable UK’s chief executive Dan McGrail.
Offshore wind farms have grown into a major source of power in the U.K. in recent years, as the nation seeks to replace dirty, polluting energy sources like oil and gas with clean, renewable ones like wind and solar. In the first quarter of 2023, wind power was Britain’s largest source of electricity, providing 32.4% of the total, according to researchers at Imperial College London.
At the same time, new wind farm development in Britain has stalled after its current government, led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, has proved hostile to clean energy. “[They] have now trashed the industry that was meant to be the crown jewels of the British energy system — blocking the cheap, clean, homegrown power we need,” shadow energy security and net zero secretary Ed Milliband said.
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