Wind powers UK to 'greenest Christmas' as RE claims 41% share

The UK had its greenest ever Christmas with 41% of power generated on 25 December coming from renewable sources, according to industry figures.

The renewable share was up from 25% on Christmas Day 2015 and wind power accounted for 75% of the electricity produced, with turbines averaging 9.4GW of output, said data from Electric Insights.

The UK wind fleet fared even better on 23 December, when it managed a record peak output of 10.8GW, according to the figures compiled for biomass generator Drax.

The stellar Christmas came just a few days after the UK wind industry celebrated 25 years since the country’s first wind farm started generating clean electricity. In 1991, ten turbines were switched on at Good Energy’s Delabole onshore plant in Cornwall, southwest England (see picture carousel).

There are now more than 1,000 commercial-scale UK wind projects operating onshore and offshore, meeting the needs of over 9.5 million British homes.

Scotland sets UK-leading record for RE generation

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“Wind power is now a mainstream power source in the UK, outperforming and replacing old fashioned coal,” says industry body RenewableUK’s executive director Emma Pinchbeck. “It’s a crucial part of our new energy system, which is designed to deliver the energy the country needs in the smartest way possible.”

RenewableUK says at 3.45MW, the latest Vestas onshore turbines being installed in Scotland are more than eight-and-a-half times as powerful as the 400kW machines originally installed in Cornwall 25 years ago, showing the level of innovation the industry has achieved.

In 2011 Delabole was repowered with four Enercon turbines, more than doubling its rated capacity to its current 9.2MW.