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Wind power taking central role in UK’s modern energy system

Published: 4 April 2019 - Carly Wills

Government figures released recently reveal that wind generated a record amount of electricity in 2018.

The provisional statistics, published in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s quarterly ‘Energy Trends’ report, show that wind provided a record 17.1 per cent of the UK’s electricity last year (9.1 per cent from onshore wind and eight per cent from offshore wind, both new annual records). 

Overall, renewables generated a record 33.3 per cent. Low carbon generation (renewables and nuclear) reached a record 52.8 per cent. Nuclear provided 19.5 per cent, with gas generating 39.4 per cent, and coal generation dropped to a record annual low of five per cent.

In 2017, wind provided 14.8 per cent of the UK’s electricity (8.6 per cent from onshore wind and 6.2 per cent from offshore wind), and renewables overall provided 29.3 per cent.

RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Emma Pinchbeck said: “These record breaking figures demonstrate the unstoppable momentum for renewables.

“Wind power in the UK is driving a transformation in energy, to clean, affordable and flexible power that works hand in hand with exciting technologies of the future like storage and EVs.

“We need government to fully recognise that renewables are the future in our energy policy - from fair markets for flexible power and innovation funding for new technologies, to removing the obstacles in the way of our cheapest form of generation: onshore wind.”

BEIS has also released statistics covering the final three months of 2018, showing that renewables generated a quarterly record of 37.1 per cent of the UK’s electricity from October to December. The report notes that this was ‘driven by record generation from wind’. Overall, wind generated 21.5 per cent of UK electricity in Q4.

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