Wind turbines fed record power flow to U.K. grid on Friday

Source: By William Mathis, Bloomberg • Posted: Monday, December 21, 2020

Wind turbines generated a record amount of U.K. power on Friday as the growing number of turbines at sea take advantage of the windy conditions off the coast.

The record production is a glimpse of the future as the U.K. seeks to push $27 billion of investment to quadruple offshore wind capacity to help the country eliminate its carbon footprint by the middle of the century. It’s also a welcome respite for grid managers, who had to fire up natural gas plants during the relatively windless conditions prevailing since the start of November.

Wind power generation climbed to more than 13.8 gigawatts on Friday, beating the previous record set in January, according to data from National Grid Plc. That’s more than four times the capacity of the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station that’s being built in Somerset, England at a cost of about 20 billion pounds ($27 billion).

While the record production shows the promise of the country’s wind resources, it also underscores a growing issue for the electric grid. Wind generation is forecast to remain high next week and into the holiday period. Power consumption usually declines during Christmas with shops, schools and offices closed. A combination of these two factors could mean negative electricity prices if supply outstrips demand.

As of 3 p.m. London time Friday wind was meeting 39% of demand, gas 25%, nuclear 16% and imports 8%, National Grid data show.