For the first time, more than half of the UK’s energy was generated by wind over the course of a day as Storm Bella raged across parts of the country.
According to Drax Energy Insights, the new green record was set on Boxing Day, when wind turbines generated 50.7% of the country’s electricity.
Gusts of up to 106 mph (170kph) blew across parts of the UK, as heavy rains added to standing floodwater and caused fresh flood warnings to be issued in communities ranging from Cornwall to York.
In August, the gale-force winds that accompanied Storm Ellen provided up to half of the UK’s electricity for short periods. Still, Drax Energy Insights say that this is the first time wind has delivered more than half of the country’s energy needs for a whole day.
On Boxing Day, more than half of the United Kingdom’s daily electricity came from wind turbines – 2020 will be the greenest year on record, and the UK one of the world’s greenest countries.said Net Zero ‘Business Champion’ and Arundel & South Downs MP Andrew Griffith
A total of 15.06 Gigawatts (GW) of electricity was generated by wind on boxing day, compared to just 4.43 GW by gas and 0.2GW by coal.
But what does this mean in practice? There are one billion watts in a gigawatt; according to the Department of Energy, this is enough to power 110 million LEDs…or 2000 Chevy Corvette ZO6s!
This means that the energy provided by wind turbines in the UK on boxing day was enough to drive more than 30,000 Chevy Corvettes or light up enough LED lights to illuminate a path from London to Beijing (1,656,600,000 LEDs)!
This news comes as the UK celebrated its first ‘coal-free’ Christmas amid a government’s push to embrace renewables and green energy sources.
According to the National Grid, 2020 was the UK’s first coal-free Christmas day since records began, meaning all electricity consumed on the 25th December 2020 was generated from other sources.
Last year, coal provided 1.8% of the country’s energy needs at Christmas- down from 20% in 2009.
In November, the government unveiled a ten-point plan for the UK’s ‘green revolution,’ which aims to fast-track the path to net-zero carbon emissions over the coming years.
Highlights of the plan include more investment and support for offshore wind, hydrogen power, and nuclear power provisions as the country moves away from relying on fossil fuels, such as coal and gas, for its energy supplies.
The government pledged £12 billion to support the new initiatives and suggested that as many as a quarter of a million new jobs could arise from the drive to make the UK economy more ecologically sustainable.
Drax Group’s Energy Insights website presents data collected from the National Grid, electricity wholesalers Elexon, and the company responsible for estimating solar energy output in the UK, Sheffield Solar.