Among the UK’s main goals in the field of energy transition is the ambitious goal of having zero-emission electricity generation by 2035. The IPCC estimates make it very clear that eliminating harmful emissions is key to combating climate change. It is therefore pleasing to discover that, for the first time, wind power has managed to be the UK’s main source of electricity. Let’s look at the numbers.
Wind power main source of electricity in the UK
Stating that wind power was the main source of electricity in the UK is a report by Iain Staffell, researcher at Imperial College.
The period covered is the first three months of 2023, which marked a record production of UK wind turbines. Another absolutely positive figure is the record in energy generation from photovoltaic plants for the month of April. This is a figure confirmed by National Grid.
As Iain Staffell explained, ‘there are still many obstacles to achieving a completely fossil-fuel-free grid. But the depletion of gas supply is a key event’.
Most of the electricity from wind power that is meeting the UK’s needs comes from offshore wind farms. This has been possible despite the UK’s longstanding ban on new offshore wind farms.
And while it is true that in December Prime Minister Rishi Sunak declared his intention to soften the ban, the fact remains that in recent years energy companies have only been able to focus on building onshore wind farms.
This has certainly slowed down the energy transition. Knowing that turbines can only be installed in specific areas, designated by local authorities.
Room for improvement
The fact that wind power was the main source of electricity in the UK for the first time can only be positive.
Specifically, the figures tell us that in the first quarter of 2023, 42% of electricity came from renewable sources. With wind power accounting for the majority.
Given the concrete demonstrations in recent years of the ferocity of climate change – which in the UK last year led to the hottest year ever – the onus is on us to continue to invest in this direction.
And if Prime Minister Sunak’s will is to soften the ban on offshore wind power, the deployment of other plants remains central. Unfortunately, as the BBC revealed, there are billions of pounds worth of renewable energy projects stalled. This is due to delays in making the final connections to the national grid.