New wind generation record sets 2018 off to green start

January is rarely anyone’s favourite month, but over the last few years it has developed a reputation as the month in which renewable energy shines.

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2018 has been no exception – on 17th January, the UK set a new wind generation record of 13.6 GW between 12.45-1.15pm. This smashed the previous record – itself set only the month previous month, on 6th December 2017 – by 0.8 GW.

That the new record comes so soon after the previous one demonstrates the extent to which renewable energy sources are becoming a major part of the UK’s electricity network.

Indeed, the increased deployment of renewables has meant a rapid decarbonisation for the UK over the last five years, with a 56% reduction in the carbon intensity of the UK’s electricity since 2013.

A huge part of that shift has been down to the uptake of turbines, both on land and in the seas surrounding the UK. Thanks to generous government subsidies, it has been relatively cheap for developers to build large offshore sites, which has been at the expense of onshore development.

This is due to a government proposal, introduced in 2015, which stopped onshore wind developers applying for subsidies and came into force following a two-year grace period.

As a result, 2017 saw a record amount of onshore wind developed – 2.6 GW, compared to the previous record of 1.3 GW in 2013 – due to the end of the grace period approaching, meaning that several developers pushed to secure subsidies. The total installed capacity of UK onshore wind stands at a little over 12 GW.

For comparison, offshore wind currently stands at 5.1 GW – not sure this is up to date on Crown Estate website.

Offshore wind power has undergone steep reductions in cost between 2012 and 2017, becoming around a third less expensive by 2017. The fall in costs meant that, midway through 2017, electricity generated by offshore wind power would be almost half as expensive as electricity generated by nuclear power.

As the UK’s electricity network renewable energy mix increases, more and more Opus Energy customers are also receiving energy from low-emission sources – and it doesn’t cost them a penny extra. Last year, we supplied 90% renewable energy at no extra cost to our customers.

And while the National Grid Control Room officially recognised 2017 as the greenest year on record, 2018 has the potential to be even more sustainable. Thanks to the continued upward trend of renewables and a range of exciting projects under development, there’s a good chance that things will only get better.