How Much Power Do Wind Farms Generate In England?
By Paul Homewood
As we all know, there has been much controversy about onshore wind farms lately.
The Conservative Government has promised to abolish all further subsidies for new wind farms. In reply, Renewable UK, the lobby group for renewable energy, has claimed that onshore wind is now the cheapest form of new generation in Britain and that polls consistently show support for wind power.
But just how significant is onshore wind in the overall electricity mix?
In the UK as a whole, onshore wind accounted for 6.7% last year. But if we only look at England on its own, which is after all where most of us live, we find a much different picture.
DECC don’t give separate figures for onshore wind power in England, only onshore and offshore together. However, they do quote capacity figures, which are currently 2514 MW for England.
Working on capacity utilisation of 28%, this would equate to 6.2 TWh a year.
DECC also give total electricity generation figures for England of 260.9 TWh (latest figures are for 2014). This would suggest that onshore wind is only supplying 2.4% of generation in England.
Am I cherry picking by just looking at England? I don’t think so. As I say, this is where most people in the UK live.
Also energy policy is one of the powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament, albeit within a UK framework. So, to some extent, what they do is up to them.
The bottom line however is that we have have plastered pretty much all of England with wind turbines, yet for so little benefit.
I always like comparing renewable output with what proper power stations are capable of producing.
The newly opened CCGT plant at Carrington is rated at 880 MW, and assuming capacity loading of 85%, would generate 6.5 TWh a year, slightly more than all England’s wind farms put together!