Production of wind energy in Britain last year was 25 percent higher as a result of freak weather conditions, according to the industry lobby group.
LONDON, England, UK, 2001.03.13 //SolarAccess.com// The country experienced unusual winter storms that are more associated with tropical regions, says Nick Goodall of the British Wind Energy Association, which allowed turbines to generate more electricity than usual seasonal peaks during the last quarter of 2000. Winter is when demand for electricity is high. “This results in one of the best synergies you could ask for,” explains Goodall. “We produce more electricity just as people want more.” Last year, the global wind energy industry generated 10 percent more electricity than 1999, with total output almost one billion units. New wind projects set a record, too, with 65 MW of new installed capacity, representing almost double the previous two years combined. “This is the third consecutive year where we’ve seen the industry expand fantastically,” says Goodall. “We will certainly see this positive upwards trend continued in 2001 when more than 100 MW of new projects will be coming online.” The wind energy industry must look beyond this year for any real measure of success, he warns. “Good news as this recent progress is, we have to build new projects at a far greater rate if we are not to fall behind other countries in Europe and miss out on our own Government’s targets for 2010,” he explains. His warning echoes a government report from 1999 which concluded that the target of generating 10 percent of the country’s electricity from renewables could not be met “without much fuller development of onshore and particularly offshore wind energy.” The committee said wind turbines must be installed at five times the rate of recent years, for each of the next ten years. Goodall estimates that this growth is equivalent to an additional commissioning of 350 MW each year for the next decade. Currently, there are 857 wind turbines in Britiain that are connected to the utility grid, representing 409 MW of capacity and generating 981,554,200 kWh. This generation displaced the emission of 930,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and 16,000 tonnes of other greenhouse gases. This output represents 0.3 percent of the total supply in Britain, which Goodall says demonstrates the progress that will be required to meet the anticipated wind power contribution of 4.7 percent by 2010. Onshore wind energy is anticipated to supply 2.6 percent of electricity in the U.K. by 2010, with offshore installations supplying a further 1.8 percent. Meeting the 2010 target will require a further 2,515 onshore and 1,300 offshore turbines. The onshore units would occupy 0.2 percent of the total land area of Britain. The United Kingdom has 40 percent of the total wind resource in Europe. Domestic consumption of electricity is increasing by 2 percent each year. The Confederation of of Renewable Energy Associations (CREA) will hold a seminar later this month to address how wind power will meet the 10 percent government target.