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Record Wind Power Week

August 27, 2014

Record Wind Power Week

“Blow winds and crack your cheeks”:  Shakespeare’s King Lear was an early fan of wind power. And it looks like he was justified this week.  Wind power contributed a record 22 per cent of the generation in the UK on Sunday 18 August. RenewableUK said “onshore and offshore wind has become an absolutely fundamental component in this country’s energy mix”. While we should not overclaim (the weekend saw a slightly lower overall demand), by anybody’s standards this is a significant contribution to the UK’s power needs. While overwhelmingly this is “Big Wind”, supplying at a national level; Farm Scale wind played its part.  


 In the same week we have seen surveys asserting that, despite some politician’s views, Wind Power remains very popular with the population. Earlier this year former energy Minister Greg Barker conceded that; “the public backs renewables too. Our own polling shows overall renewable support at 77%.”


 There is a clear role here for Farm Scale Wind. A farm scale turbine is a world away from the graceful giants of the wind farm. Similar in scale to a large tree, they are in harmony with their setting; overwhelmingly single units or very small groups. They are a unit of farm machinery, and an integral part of the farm business. At Gaia-Wind we see this as a landscape of fantastic opportunity.


An estimated 50 per cent of the 200,000 holdings in the UK are unable to use three phase power: Gaia-Wind has opened up this market with the introduction a Single Phase option for the successful 133 model turbine.  This move enables tens of thousands of previously hampered rural homes, businesses, smallholders, crofts and farms, to aim for “energy independence”. And we have also introduced our new “Self Raising Tower”, a motorised turbine tower set up which enables a crane-less install. This removes the cost of a crane and driver and enables installation of a Gaia-Wind turbine using normal farm equipment even on sites with difficult access.


The small wind turbine is the epitome of ‘Distributed Energy’. It delivers energy overwhelmingly for use at source in line with UK Ministers’ aim of helping “families produce their own renewable electricity.” So a good next step for government would be more proportionate planning requirements which recognise the difference between ‘Farm Scale’ turbines, designed and used for generation of energy which will be used on site and larger turbines and commercial wind farms 


The share of wind power within the UK’s generation mix reached a t on Sunday due to strong power output of almost 6 GW and typically low summer weekend demand. The new record share surpassed the 21 per cent stake wind held on Monday 11 August this year.


August's record percentages also exceed the previous high of a 20 per cent contribution seen on 20 December 2013.


Although outright generation fell far short of the UK record of 7.2 GW, the low demand for power from other sources due to typically depressed weekend levels allowed the 5.7 GW output to take a greater proportional stake of total electricity produced.


Peak daily power on Sunday was just 30 GW while weekday demand levels for this time of year fall between 36.5 – 37.5 GW, National Grid data shows.


Trade association RenewableUK said the record proves “that onshore and offshore wind has become an absolutely fundamental component in this country’s energy mix”.


On Sunday while wind generation contributed 22 per cent to the generation mix, coal provided just 13 per cent; while solar, biomass and hydro offered seven per cent combined.


Wind was surpassed by nuclear at 24 per cent and gas-fired power at 26 per cent.


Wind generation on Monday fell to just above 3 GW and is forecast to slip further to just above one GW on Tuesday as peak demand rises to an expected 36.6 GW Monday evening at over 37 GW at the same time Tuesday, National Grid data shows.

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