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Wind Power Hits New Record on Blustery Bank Holiday

A cold, damp bank holiday disappointed many Brits on Monday but gave wind power generators and advocates of renewable energy something to celebrate.

The UK’s on and offshore wind farms powered to a new generation record on the afternoon of 3 May, producing 17.6GW of power—enough to run 3.5 million kettles. The previous generation record was 17.5GW, achieved in February as Britain was lashed by Storm Darcy.

The high productivity of wind farms on Monday meant 48.5% of Great Britain’s electricity was coming from wind power at 3:30 pm, more than gas-fired power stations (21.7%), nuclear plants (12%) and biomass burners (6.1%) combined. 

But sun-starved Brits won’t be surprised that the day was a washout for solar power, which contributed just 2.3% of the country’s power.

The 17.6GW of power wind farms generated on Monday afternoon didn’t give them the highest share of the electricity mix they’d ever held. That was achieved on 26 August 2020, when demand was lower, and wind turbines yielded 59.9% of the grid’s electricity, during Storm Ellen.

Melanie Onn, chief executive of trade body Renewables UK, hailed the new record. “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,” she said.

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

She said more milestones for the renewable energy sector are in the offing, as a “healthy pipeline of wind energy projects,” both on and offshore, help the UK reach its net-zero target.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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