Wind gusts across Europe help set renewable power record
7th June 2017 | Commercial Energy
In the UK, wind, nuclear and solar power were each generating more electricity than gas and coal combined at 1pm on Wednesday, for the first time ever.
Including hydropower and biomass burned at power stations such as Drax in North Yorkshire, renewables provided 50.7% of demand at lunchtime.
High wind speeds and the growing number of windfarms off the coasts of the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and other European countries have also set what are understood to be records.
On Tuesday, 2.7% of all the EU’s power was coming from such offshore windfarms, according to the industry body. In the UK, the figure was 10%.
Experts at EnAppSys said the huge amount of electricity generated by windfarms across north-west Europe, both at sea and on land, had caused power prices to fall to record lows, at a tenth of their usual cost overnight.
“It’s a sign of how things are changing – coal is coming off and renewables are growing,” said Maf Smith, the deputy chief executive of trade body RenewableUK.
Giles Dickson, the chief executive of industry group WindEurope, said that although nearly 3% of Europe’s power demand might sound small, it was a “very high level” for offshore wind. “You have to put it in the context that most countries do not have offshore wind,” he said, speaking on the sidelines of an offshore wind power conference in London.
The event was packed with exhibition stands run by countries, including the Netherlands and Scotland, which are jockeying to attract windfarm developers. The UK is the world leader for installed offshore wind capacity, with Germany not far behind.
The show also revealed the battle the world’s biggest turbine makers are engaged in to reduce the cost of a relatively expensive technology.
The world’s biggest and most powerful turbines, at 8MW each, have recently been installed off the coast at Liverpool.
But this week the firm that built those turbines, Denmark’s MHI Vestas, said it was building a 9.5MW model, which produces more power from the same size through refinements and better gearing.
For the windfarm developers, the attraction of bigger turbines is that they reduce the quantity of foundations, cables and other infrastructure.
Germany’s Senvion is developing a turbine that will be more than 10MW, while the US company GE is working on a 12MW turbine.
More information available on the website below