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Wind power steps up when nuclear and gas go offline

20 October 2014

Strong wind speeds over the weekend contributed significantly to the UK’s electricity supply as nuclear reactors remained offline and a large gas plant was suddenly hit by a fire.

Wind power set a new record on Sunday by providing 24% of the UK’s electricity supply for the entire day. The previous record stood at 22% of total generation in August this year.

Wind’s consistently strong performance saw it outperform nuclear power from Friday evening throughout the whole weekend and into Monday morning. This also led to a number of coal plants being taken offline as they were surplus to requirements.

Wind power set a new peak record of generating 7,998 megawatts (MW) over a half-hour period at midday on Saturday once local turbines are factored in, according to National Grid statistics. This is the equivalent of powering 17 million homes, based on average consumption in October.

A sudden drop off in gas power was caused by a fire at Didcot B power station, which has a capacity of up to 1,360MW, equivalent to the needs of a million homes. There are also four nuclear plants (nine reactors) currently offline due to unplanned outages and refuelling, which has removed 5,303MW of generating capacity from the system.

RenewableUK’s Director of External Affairs Jennifer Webber said: “This year has seen successive new records for wind generation and this latest evidence shows it’s more than capable of stepping in when traditional sources of generation go offline without warning. As we can expect more of these outages in the future, it’s reassuring to know we have wind filling the energy gap”.

Wind power is often used as a convenient whipping boy by political opponents and vested interests; all the while, it’s been quietly powering millions of homes across the UK and providing a robust response to its vocal detractors”.

Notes:

1. National Grid statistics provided by independent data analysts EnAppSys http://www.enappsys.com. This includes National Grid estimates for embedded wind (turbines contributing to local networks).

2. The half-hourly record includes 6,372MW for metered wind (turbines contributing directly to the National Grid), while embedded wind totalled 1,626MW. The metered wind total is also a record.

3. A breakdown of UK electricity generation over both Saturday and Sunday includes: Coal 7,961MW (26.4%), Gas 7,818MW (26.0%), Wind 7,105MW (23.6%), Nuclear 4,321MW (14.3%), Other 2,916MW (9.7%).

 


 

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