According to the National Grid, the UK generated a record amount of wind power in 2022, with it providing over a quarter of the country’s electricity.
Over the year as a whole, wind was the second-largest source of electricity generation at 26.8%, behind gas at 38.5%. On the windiest days of the year, wind alone provided about 70% of the UK’s energy needs. The combination of all renewables plus nuclear produced 48.5% of total power, edging out gas and coal with a combined 40%. Over the last decade, coal-powered generation as a share of total generation has plummeted from 43% to just 1.5%.
Wind power has rapidly evolved from a niche technology to a commercially attractive prospect, with lubricant makers like Shell developing specialised gear oil and grease for wind turbines, which can now be massive installations when located offshore.
Speaking to BBC News, the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit’s head of energy, Jess Ralston, said:
“The UK has a good record with offshore wind. We’re quite a giant in the offshore wind world and our industry is very attractive…Our old-fashioned energy grid urgently needs investment to maximise the opportunity that wind and solar offer to continue to reduce bills.”
She noted, however, that the country had failed to exploit some opportunities for faster growth in wind power, such as by effectively banning new onshore wind farms since 2015, although the UK Government recently agreed to relax these measures subject to approval from local residents.