Wind Power Surpasses Nuclear in the UK for the First Time

Wind turbines

Credit: Unsplash/Tim Foster

The wind farms in the UK achieved an incredible feat of providing more electricity than its eight nuclear power stations for the first time across a quarter. The feat was achieved in the first three months of 2018, and also marking the first time that wind had surpassed nuclear in the country.

The Imperial College of London revealed in its seventh Electric Insights report about the wind power being outproduced for the first time ever. The quarterly reports are created by Dr Iain Staffell from the Centre for Environmental Policy accompanied by other experts. The latest report highlights that while at their peak, the wind farms supplied around 47.3% of the country’s demand. It was also highlighted that wind peaked at over 14 GW of electricity.

Although this is being considered as promising news, the wind still has a long way to prove its dominance as a power source in the UK. Gas has provided the largest amount of the country’s electricity at 39.4% and nuclear is close to the wind at 18.76%.

One of the key reasons that so much wind energy blew into the U.K. in 2018 is being attributed to a new transmission line between Scotland and the north Wales that opened in December. This development allowed the turbines to keep spinning. In the past, the turbines may have been curtailed once the grid they fed became unable to accept more wind power. The new power cable recently opened between Scotland and North Wales in December has also helped in unlocking electricity from Scottish wind farms.

Meanwhile, experts pointed to transmission constraints as a key challenge holding back wind energy expansion in the country, at the recent American Wind Energy Association’s WINDPOWER 2018. Meanwhile, nuclear had setbacks in the first three months of 2018, as two plant reactors were temporarily shut down for maintenance issues and another on counts of clogging with seaweeds. And, Staffell pointed out the critical questions about resilience and security of supply.

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