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Massive wind storm supplies half of Britain’s electricity

PortandTerminal.com, December 29, 2020

LONDON – The Guardian newspaper is reporting that more than half of Great Britain’s daily electricity came from wind turbines for the first time on Boxing Day (December 26).

Storm Bella blasted its way into the UK bringing with it strong winds of over 100mph. Parts of the UK experienced flooding, downed trees, power outages and other wind-related damages.

The ports of Dover and Calais warned Channel crossings had also been affected by the weather, with strong winds and poor visibility leading to delays.

On the upside though was the power generated by all of that wind. As Storm Bella arrived, wind provided 50.7% of Great Britain’s electricity according to data charting the power generation mix.

“Britain has experienced a renewables revolution over the last decade with the growth of biomass, wind and solar power,” said Drax Electric Insights, part of coal and biomass power company Drax, which tracks the data.

The milestone follows a string of new low-carbon records set in 2020, as Covid-19 restrictions depressed power demand, helping wind and solar to claim a larger share of the mix. Fossil fuels have increasingly been edged out as a result, helping Great Britain enjoy its longest coal-free period since the Industrial Revolution.

Gas and coal power plants made up 36% of the electricity generated in England, Scotland and Wales in the year up to 21 December 2020, according to data from National Grid’s electricity system operator (NGESO), down from 46% in 2019.

Wind and solar farms delivered 29% of the electricity mix, rising from 23% of electricity generated in Great Britain last year, according to the early data report.

While Boxing Day set a record for the highest share of power generated by wind farms, it was not a record for the most power they have ever supplied. That was set earlier this month when windfarms delivered 17.3 gigawatts. Because overall demand was higher at the time, their percentage share of total power generation was lower than it was on Boxing Day, at 40%.

Read The Guardian’s full coverage of Storm Bella’s power generating results by clicking here.

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