Figures released by Carbon Brief have shown that wind turbines have overtaken coal in the amount of power produced in 2016.
The milestone is a first in the UK and marks the lowest level of coal since 1935.
An increase in carbon tax, closure of coal fuelled power stations and rising prices of wholesales coal all contribute to why wind generation has surpassed the use of coal. The coal decline signifies a positive future for wind generation and is a good indication that the government can meet its target of removing coal power in the UK by 2025.
But what do we know about wind power?
1. Globally, wind power accounts for about 5% of total electricity demand. In the UK, wind and solar together accounted for 11.6% of electricity generated in the last quarter of 2016, of which 3.5% came from off-shore wind.
2. Over Christmas 2016, Scottish wind turbines produced enough energy to match their entire national electricity demand for four days running.
3. In 2016, off-shore wind construction accounted for 21% of the country’s entire infrastructure investment.
4. Lots of local authorities are making use of un-used land by installing wind energy and ‘sleeving’ the energy into electricity supply contracts using a power purchase agreement.
5. Windmills were used in ancient Persia and China, so people have been using the power of the wind since at least 2,000 years B.C. Originally, we used wind power for pumping water (the original energy storage) and grinding grains but now it’s used to generate electricity to power industry, homes, businesses and even transport all over the world!
A common question is what happens when it’s not windy or we have a really calm period of weather?...
The answer… wind is caused as air moves from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure. This happens because of differences in the way different parts of the world warm up as the sun shines. So as long as we have sunshine, we will have wind!
Find out more about YPO’s framework for wind turbines.