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How much wind power does the UK generate?

Published by on April 9, 2019

Off-shore wind power

In 2017, the UK was accountable for creating more than half of Europe’s off-shore wind power, but the UK wants to build more to meet its commitment to reducing CO2 emissions as part of the United Nation’s Paris Agreement.

Renewable Energy

Power stations, such as coal-fired plants, are becoming a thing of the past as they are being replaced with renewable energy sources such as off-shore windfarms. Renewable energy means that it is naturally replenished over time. Wind farms generate energy by harnessing the wind to spin a giant ‘fan’ using a generator to convert each rotation into power.

Offshore Wind Farms

As stated earlier, the UK are clearly leading the way in terms of off-shore wind farms. This is because the country is home to 6 of the 10 biggest windfarms in the world. The UK houses the two largest off-shore windfarms in the world, producing a combined capacity of 1,289MW. These two farms alone produce more than the total off-shore wind farm production of Denmark, who are currently 4th in the world’s off-shore windfarm energy production.

Largest off-shore windfarms by capacity:

Country Wind Farm Name Capacity (MW) Year Built
UK Walney 659 2012
UK London Array 630 2013
Netherlands Gemini Wind Farm 600 2017
UK Greater Gabbard Wind Farm 504 2012
Denmark Anholt 400 2013
Belgium BARD offshore 1 400 2013
UK Rampion Wind Farm 400 2018
Belgium Thontonbank 325 2013
UK Sherringham Shaol 315 2012
UK Thanet 300 2010

Total off-shore wind farm capacity by country

As you can see, the UK are ahead of the competition and they don’t appear to be slowing anytime soon, with plans for two new farms already under construction. (Beatrice extension and Hornsea One).

Hornsea One

Hornsea is intended to become the world’s biggest offshore windfarm on completion in 2020, by supplying over 1200MW. This will dwarf the current leader by almost double. Hornsea One, once completed, will be 5 times the size of the city Hull, where the turbines are being manufactured.

The turbines being used will stand 190 metres tall, which makes them 10 metres taller than ‘The Gherkin’ building in London. The first of these turbines is now in-place and began producing electricity for the national grid for the first time in February. This giant turbine is the first of 174 turbines expected to be completed in 2020 and will supply power to more than a million homes.

comparison of the size of wind turbines

Why ‘Clean’ Energy? Renewable Vs. Non-Renewable

The UK, as part of its commitment to the Paris Agreement, which gives member states the objective of reducing the amount of CO2 they produce, is one of the primary motivations for moving to renewable energy production. In the past, coal power stations were the go-to for energy production. However, these are believed to be one of the worst producers of carbon dioxide. Because of this, the UK is aiming to shut down all coal-fired power stations by 2025. As of early-2019, only 7 coal power plants remain and plans for a further three to be shut this year are in-motion.

Breakdown of energy production in the UK between July and September 2018:

Non-Renewable (66.8%):

  • Gas Power 38.7%
  • Nuclear 23%
  • Coal 2.5%
  • Other 2.6%

Renewable (33.2%):

  • Onshore Wind 7.4%
  • Offshore Wind 6.6%
  • Hydro 1.1%
  • Solar 6.1%
  • Bio 12%

Should The Public Be Doing More?

We think it’s clear that the government is trying to do their bit to make use of renewable energy where possible, so that leaves us with a question… Is there more we, the public, can do? The government and local councils believe so. In many counties, it is possible for homeowners to get funding to improve the energy efficiency of their home.

This is part of the governments commitment to reducing our CO2 emissions and is a full-cycle approach. Not only are they trying to harness clean energy, they are trying to reduce the amount of waste from each home. This is done through offering funding for cavity wall insulation, external wall insulation, draught proofing and loft insulation.

If you’d like to know whether you can get funding for insulating your property, get in touch with us. We can check, with no obligation, to see if you can benefit from free insulation.

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