May storms help UK set new wind power records

The share of electricity generated by wind power in the UK surpassed 60 per cent for the first time amid unseasonably stormy weather

Joanna Taylor
Monday 24 May 2021 17:00 BST

Britain’s unseasonably gusty weather has helped set a new record for the amount of electricity generated by wind power on the national grid.

As gale force winds blew on Friday afternoon, almost 18 gigawatts of power were generated on the UK’s electricity system, enough to power upwards of 5 million homes.

Another wind record was broken in the early hours of Friday morning, when the percentage of electricity used in the UK produced by wind turbines between 2am and 3am hit 62.5 per cent.

The previous record was set early on August 26 last year, when 59.9 per cent of Britain’s electricity was generated by wind.

National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO), who compiled the data, said that the figures recorded on Friday afternoon represent a “new all-time high wind power peak”.

They added that the 17.8GW of electricity generated between 3:30pm and 4:30pm contributed more than half of Britain’s electricity.

So far this month, wind power has made up 18 per cent of the electricity used by Brits.

The figure is accompanied by unusually stormy weather: the Met Office cautioned earlier this month that the UK could be in for its wettest May on record after more than 90 per cent of the expected rainfall poured down in the first fortnight.

The month has also been unusually cold and windy, a trend the Met Office say is unlikely to change before June.

Wind power is the largest source of renewable energy in the UK, generating almost a quarter of our electricity last year.

It surpassed coal for the first time in 2016, but remains behind nonrenewable fossil fuel, natural gas.

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