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Wind powers more than half of UK electricity for first time

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Wind turbines at the Burbo Bank Offshore Wind Farm are pictured in the sea off of the coast near New Brighton, at the mouth of the River Mersey in north-west England. Britain generated more than 50 percent of its electricity from wind power for the first time on Dec 26 in the wake of Storm Bella, according to energy company Drax. Storm Bella swept through part of the United Kingdom on Dec 26. Offshore wind power is at the heart of the ‘green’ strategy of Boris Johnson’s Conservative government. AFP

AFP – Wind power accounted for more than half of Britain’s daily generated electricity on Dec 26 in the wake of Storm Bella, warming more homes than ever, according to energy giant Drax.

The percentage of wind power in the country’s energy mixture hit a record 50.67 percent, the company said over the weekend, beating the previous record of 50 percent last August.

“For the first time ever [on Dec 26], amid #StormBella, more than half of Great Britain’s electricity was generated by the wind,” Drax Group tweeted.

It added: “This is the first time ever wind has supplied the majority of the country’s power over the course of a whole day.”

The encouraging news comes ahead of COP26, the UN’s global climate change summit, which will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, next year.

The British government wants offshore wind farms to provide one-third of the country’s electricity by 2030, as part of its strategy to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 to help meet its commitments under the Paris climate accord.

The UK has also placed nuclear power at the heart of its low-carbon energy policy.

“Britain has experienced a renewables revolution over the last decade with the growth of biomass, wind and solar power,” Drax said.

Added to the brightening picture, National Grid’s Electricity System Operator (NGESO) division declared yesterday that this year was a historic year for UK renewables.

“2020 was the greenest year on record for Britain’s electricity system, with average carbon intensity — the measure of CO2 emissions per unit of electricity consumed – reaching a new low,” NGESO said in a statement.

National Grid also revealed that on Christmas Day, Dec 25, the share of coal in the UK electricity mix stood at zero for the first time.

That compared with just 1.8 percent the previous year and 20 percent in 2009.

Wind power or wind energy is the use of wind to provide mechanical power through wind turbines to turn electric generators for electrical power. Wind power is a popular sustainable, renewable source of power that has a much smaller impact on the environment compared with burning fossil fuels.

Wind farms consist of many individual wind turbines, which are connected to the electric power transmission network. Onshore wind is an inexpensive source of electric power, competitive with or in many places cheaper than coal or gas plants. Onshore wind farms have a greater visual impact on the landscape than other power stations, as they need to be spread over more land and need to be built away from dense populations. Offshore wind is steadier and stronger than on land and offshore farms have less visual impact, but construction and maintenance costs are significantly higher. Small onshore wind farms can feed some energy into the grid or provide power to isolated off-grid locations. Wind is a growing source of power in Cambodia.

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