The UK’s wind farms generated a record amount of power on Saturday 18 October, according to data supplied by the National Grid. Wind accounted for 24 % of the UK’s power share as measured over the course of the day, beating the previous record of 22 % set in August.
Wind power also set a new peak generation record of 7998 MW during a half-hour period at midday on the same day.
The latest record comes as the government faces questions over the tightness of energy supply margins this coming winter, following the closure of a number of nuclear reactors and the recent fire at the Didcot B gas fired power station. "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," said RenewableUK’s director of External Affairs Jennifer Webber in a statement.
Another milestone was reached on 21 October when for a 24-hour period wind made up 14.2% of all generation, compared to nuclear power’s 13.2%. However, wind power’s ascendancy over nuclear is temporary. The situation was caused by windy conditions boosting the output from turbines at a time when eight out of the UK’s 15 nuclear reactors are offline.
The UK’s fleet of reactors is reduced for a number of reasons. Sizewell B is in the middle of a planned statutory outage for maintenance and refuelling, Hunterston B Reactor 4 is down for maintenance, expected back in early November, at Dungeness B, one unit is being refuelled and the other is expected back online soon after being shut down after a fault on a boiler pump was discovered, and the four reactors at Heysham and Hartlepool were taken offline in August after a crack was found iin one of the boilers.