Windfarms provided more electricity than Britain’s nuclear power stations in the first three months of 2018, the first time it has ever done so across a quarter. Between January and March, wind power produced 18.8% of the UK’s energy needs, compared to nuclear’s 18.76%. Gas was still the dominant source of the country’s electricity, at 39.4%. Overnight on 17 March, wind accounted for almost half (47%) of Britain’s electricity, another new record, a report by researchers at Imperial College London revealed. Despite doubts over wind’s ability to keep up supply during cold, calm spells, it provided between 12% and 43% of Britain’s electricity demand during the so-called Beast from the East, when the UK was struck by a prolonged and vicious cold snap at the end of February. The opening of a new 2.2GW cable connecting Scotland – which has 7.7GW of wind capacity – to North Wales also helped to generate additional capacity over the first three months of the year. Nuclear power was held back in the first quarter after two reactors temporarily went offline for maintenance, while another shut down after seaweed clogged the plant’s cooling system. But the apparent progress in renewables came as MPs warned there had been a “dramatic and worrying collapse” in clean energy investment over the past three years.
Independent 16th May 2018 read more »