UK RE nears 20% as wind soars

The UK's biggest onshore wind farm, the 539MW Whitelee

The UK's biggest onshore wind farm, the 539MW Whitelee

Renewables’ share of the UK power mix rose to 19.4% in the first quarter of 2014, thanks to a record 18.1TWh production boosted by high wind speeds and growing capacity, latest government statistics reveal.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) quarterly update for January to March shows renewables well up on the 12.4% share of power they delivered at the same stage in 2013.

Renewable output was 43% higher than in the year-ago quarter.

Onshore wind’s contribution shot up 62% to 6.6TWh in the quarter, with offshore 53% ahead at 4.4TWh.

Between them onshore and offshore accounted for almost 12% of all UK power in the quarter.

Coal, gas and nuclear output all fell during the period.

The figures emerged as trade body RenewableUK launched its ‘manifesto’ ahead of the UK’s general election in May 2015 – which includes a pledge from the industry to be the cheapest form of new generation by 2020 if the government gives it the support framework it needs.

RenewableUK has set up a taskforce to plot a path to that goal, which is expected to report by the end of the year.

The manifesto also sets out what the wind and marine industries could deliver in terms of jobs and energy security, and reiterates the sector’s aim to drive down costs offshore.

RenewableUK director of external affairs Jennifer Webber said onshore wind had come good for the UK, even as some politicians in the country continued to lobby against it and lay plans to end support for the renewable source.

Webber said: “Onshore wind is delivering today, and it’s deeply illogical to talk about limiting its potential. Without the strong performance of wind last year, the government would have been even further behind its energy targets.

"That’s why we need to ensure that there’s continued investment in both onshore and offshore wind moving forward.”

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