The United Kingdom has his a historic wind energy milestone, reaching a total installed capacity of 20 gigawatts. The opening of the Walney Extension off the coast of Cumbria earlier this month tipped the total over the 20 GW mark.
- Wind power is the biggest source of renewable energy in the UK, with the total capacity now standing at 20,128 MW – or just over 2 GW
- The country’s first commercial onshore windfarm went operational in 1991 in Delabole, Cornwall
- The first commercial offshore windfarm started generating in 2000, off the coast of Blyth in Northumberland
- Total capacity was just 1GW in 2005 and 5GW in 2010, before rapidly expanding to 10GW in 2013
According to the trade body RenewableUK, wind power has enough capacity to meet the needs of 14 million homes.
Commenting on the announcement, RenewableUK’s Executive Director Emma Pinchbeck said:
“It took 19 years to install the first 5GW of wind energy in the UK and we’ve now installed the same amount in under two years. That phenomenal growth shows just how quickly the UK is moving to a smart, low carbon power system and wind energy is at the heart of that.”
“Over half of the UK’s wind energy capacity is onshore, which is the cheapest option for new power. However, Government policy preventing onshore wind from competing for new power contracts means that consumers will miss out on low-cost power that will keep bills down.”
“It was the opening of the world’s largest offshore wind farm that has took us over the 20GW mark. We’re confident that offshore wind alone can reach at least 30GW by 2030 to become the backbone of a clean, reliable and affordable energy system.”
Experts predict that total offshore wind power alone could hit the 30 GW mark by 2030.
Image source: Ørsted