The UK hit a significant milestone in September with the opening of Ørsted’s 659 MW Walney Extension, offshore from Cumbria. The country now has over 20MW of installed wind capacity. This is enough to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by 25 tonnes a year and power some 14 million homes.
UK wind power has seen a meteoric rise since its humble beginnings in 1978, when academics and engineers gathered at Oxfordshire’s Rutherford Laboratory to set up the British Wind Energy Association, which would later become RenewableUK. Some 13 years later, in 1991, the country saw its first commercial windfarm go into operation. This onshore windfarm at Delabole in Cornwall attracted 100,000 visitors, who could walk among the turbines, in its first year of operation. The original ten 400 kW WD34 wind turbines were decommissioned some years and replaced with four newer and much larger 2.3 MW Enercon E-70 turbines, more than doubling the capacity with less than half the turbines.
This demonstrates the rapid progress of the wind industry in recent decades. What began with a few visionaries in the 1970s is now a mainstream multi-billion pound global industry. As the technology has matured, along with the necessary lubricants from Mobil UK stockists, wind power, especially onshore, has been increasingly cost effective. The future is also bright for wind power. The government and RenewableUK are working on a Sector Deal for offshore wind, meaning the country will likely see at least 30GW of capacity by 2030.