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UK wind sets new record and supplies more power than domestic coal, hydro and biomass


On Sunday night, wind power in the United Kingdom supplied more electricity than domestic coal, biomass, and hydropower (combined) and set a new record for maximum hourly output. According to RenewableUK, this record was reached at 10pm when wind supplied an hourly average of 5 GW over an hour (17% of the total electricity demand on the UK power grid at that time). The new average was a 25% increase from one year ago, when generation hit 4 GW in August 2013.

According to the UK Wind Energy Database, the nation has a total onshore wind power capacity topping 7.4 GW and approximately 3.7 GW in offshore capacity. But, this resource is still in the minority. As this wind power fleet reached its new record high on Sunday, nuclear and gas power plants were supplying the majority (57%) of the electricity going to the UK power grid. Remaining demand was met by coal (11%), hydropower (2%), biomass (2.5%), and imported power (10%).

Photo Credit: The photo above is of the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm off the Lincolnshire Coast in the United Kingdom. Located 17-23 kilometers (approximately 10-15 miles) off the coast, this 317 MW wind farm consists of 88 wind turbines and reports the capability to produce 1.1 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity per year. The photogram was taken from North Norfolk by David Bradley ( in July 2014 and is used here with his permission (link).

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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