Imperial College London

Wind produces more electricity than nuclear in the UK for the first time


Five wind turbines in a field

In the first few months of 2018 Britain’s wind farms produced record-breaking amounts of electricity, for the first time producing more than nuclear.

New analysis by Dr Iain Staffell of the Centre for Environmental Policy has revealed that 2018 began with Britain’s wind farms having a record breaking quarter. In the first three months of 2018 wind production peaked at over 14 GW of electricity and was the source of more of the country’s power than nuclear.

“It is reassuring to see renewables providing more of the country’s power particularly over the winter,” says Dr Staffell, “This was also happening while Britain’s energy system was being tested by the ‘Beast from the East’ so renewables are continuing to prove themselves as a dependable part of our electricity mix.”

The analysis, part of the latest Electric Insights quarterly report, also shows that Britain’s wind farms produced 18.8% of electricity over the quarter, and at their peak they supplied 47.3% of the country’s demand. This was instrumental in carbon emissions being 7% lower than the same period in 2017.

Alongside the news of wind’s new heights the report looks in detail at the other impacts the weather had on the electricity and gas networks. The UK ran critically low on gas during the cold weather, coal power stations took over from gas in providing the bulk of electricity demand, and the country’s interconnectors both helped and hindered system security during the cold weather.

“For me the report shows just how complex our interconnected energy system is,” says Dr Staffell, “There are critical questions about resilience and security of supply, which thankfully are becoming easier to answer through data coming out of projects like Electric Insights.”

The report is the 7th Electric Insights report, part of a series commissioned by Drax Group. Dr Staffell produces the report each quarter in conjunction with other experts at Imperial College  London.


Neasan O'Neill

Neasan O'Neill
Faculty of Engineering

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