Wind farms hit high of more than 12% of UK electricity demand

RenewableUK praises National Grid's successful management of high levels of wind output Wind farms reach high of 12.2% of UK's electricity demand on 28th December Strong winds in December allowed UK's wind fleet to meet an average of 5.3% of demand

RenewableUK, the trade association for the wind, wave & tidal industry, has praised National Grid's handling of the large volumes of electricity generated by wind farms over the festive season.

Wind power supplied an average of 5.3% of the UK's demand for electricity for December and early January, reaching a record share of 12.2% on 28th December. As a result, carbon emissions from the UK's electricity generators were cut by over 750,000 tonnes, equivalent to taking over 300,000 cars off the road.

Dr Gordon Edge, RenewableUK's Director of Policy, said "Wind energy represents a new paradigm in electricity generation, allowing us to harness the power of the weather when it's available, cutting our fossil fuel bills and lowering our carbon emissions. As we're generating increasingly large amounts of electricity from wind, feeding those large volumes of power into the system represents an engineering challenge to the National Grid – a challenge we are pleased to see they met over Christmas.

National Grid is responsible for balancing the output of the UK's electricity generators with demand from consumers and businesses on a minute by minute basis. Integrating the variable output of wind generators involves taking a range of balancing actions, including reducing the rate at which fossil fuel generators consume fuel when wind output is higher. Last year, National Grid launched a new wind power forecasting system, allowing their engineers to more accurately predict output from the UK's growing fleet of wind farms.

For further information, please contact:

Robert Norris, Head of Communications, 020 7901 3013 or 07969 229913
Adam Bell, Communications Manager, 020 7901 3038 or 07791 702702


RenewableUK is the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries. Formed in 1978, and with more than 700 corporate members, RenewableUK is the leading renewable energy trade association in the UK. Wind has been the world's fastest growing renewable energy source for the last seven years, and this trend is expected to continue with falling costs of wind energy and the urgent international need to tackle CO2 emissions to prevent climate change.
Wind generation figures are derived from Elexon's Balancing Mechanism Reports website (, and represent the period December 1st to midday January 5th. The BM Reports website only monitors generation which is primarily transmission connected and ignores many embedded generators connected to the distribution network,, and is an underestimate of the level of wind output by approximately 49%.
Carbon emission figures assume that wind is displacing combined-cycle gas turbines, for an average displacement of 430g per megawatt-hour. Coal plant, which produces more carbon emissions, was used more heavily than gas over the period considered, making these an underestimate.
Figures for cars removed from the roads are based on an annual emission rate per car of 2.27 tonnes of CO2. This is derived from the figures given in the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders "New Car Report 2011" for 2009.

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