Storms Malik and Corrie give Britain’s wind power a boost

Wild weather comes amid energy crisis that has been put down to rising price of gas, reports Zoe Tidman

Monday 31 January 2022 17:54 GMT
Storm Corrie battered parts of the UK on Monday
Storm Corrie battered parts of the UK on Monday (PA)

The importance of wind to the UK’s energy network has been brought to the fore thanks to the country’s recent wild weather.

As Storm Malik devastated parts of the country last week, its gusts saw turbines generate a record amount of power.

Days later, wind farms were once again producing more electricity in Britain than any other sources when Storm Corrie hit.

On Monday morning, wind energy accounted for an average of 49 per cent of the nation’s electricity over the previous 24 hours amid gusts of up to 90mph.

This marks a huge increase in production, given that wind made up just 19 per cent of British electricity generated over the past year, according to figures from the National Grid.

The boost in renewable energy comes at a time when the UK is facing an energy crisis that has sparked a renewed interest in the country’s reliance on gas.

Household bills are set to rocket yet again in the spring, with rising wholesale gas prices responsible for the surging costs.

Experts have suggested a greater and earlier focus on renewable energy could have softened the blow of the current crisis. If the push to greener sources of energy had started earlier, this would have reduced the country’s reliance on gas and vulnerability to its price fluctuations, the argument goes.

Current figures show the importance of wind power not only for its green credentials, but also for its potential to generate a significant proportion of electricity – around half of Britain’s total – in certain conditions.

It is good news for plans to boost wind capacity, with a £60m investment for projects announced this month and Scotland giving the green light to a number of offshore developments.

But the win for renewable energy should not overshadow the human cost of storms – which are increasing in frequency and intensity due to the climate crisis that greener sources of power are trying to tackle.

Three people – including a child – have been killed, tens of thousands have lost power and huge damage has been caused by the two storms which hit one after another.

National Grid ESO recognised a “milestone on the way to a zero carbon future” on Saturday as it announced record-breaking wind power. But it added: “We’re also thinking of those affected by Storm Malik.”

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