Wind power hits new British record on blustery bank holiday

Britain’s wind farms set a new clean energy record on Monday, generating almost half of the electricity system, thanks to the blustery bank holiday weather.

More than 17.6 gigawatts (GW) of electricity was generated by offshore and onshore wind turbines for the first time in the middle of the afternoon (3.30pm) – enough to power 3.5 million kettles, according to the Guardian.

That represented nearly half (48.5%) of the electricity grid in England, Scotland and Wales, according to data from operator National Grid ESO, and beat the previous record of 17.5GW set on 13 February.

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That was more than the contribution made by gas plants, nuclear reactors and biomass burners combined.

Gas plants powered 21.7% of the electricity grid on Monday afternoon, while nuclear reactors generated 12% and biomass power units contributed 6.1%.

In a tweet, ESO said wind produced a little over 35% of the country’s electricity in all.

The renewable technology is an increasing part of the British grid, as more wind farms are built, in particular off the coast of Britain.

And there are plans to produce 40GW of offshore wind by 2030, as part of efforts to tackle climate change and cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

Industry body RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Melanie Onn said: "On a wet and unseasonably cold May bank holiday, Britain’s wind farms generated a record amount of clean power just when we needed it most to stay warm and dry.

"The fact that wind is generating nearly half the country’s electricity shows how central it has become in our modern energy system.

"The UK’s healthy pipeline of wind energy projects set to be built onshore and offshore will help us to reach the Government’s target of net zero emissions as fast as possible.

"As we ramp up our renewable energy capacity we can expect fresh records in the years ahead."

The biggest share of the power mix wind has ever had is 60%, which it hit on the early hours of Wednesday 26 August, 2020, when turbines were producing 14.2 gigawatts of electricity amid Storm Francis.

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