Wind ousts gas as Britain’s top power supplier in Q1
The Llangwyryfon wind farm in Wales. Image by EDF Energy (www.edfenergy.com)
Wind turbines provided 32.4% of Britain’s electricity in the first quarter of 2023, surpassing for the first time gas-fired power plants, which supplied 31.7%, according to data released ahead of the quarterly Drax Electric Insights report.
This was the first quarter ever in which wind accounted for the largest share of Britain’s power, Drax Group Plc (LON:DRX), which has converted the UK’s largest power station to biomass from coal, said on Wednesday.
Wind generation was up 3% year-over-year, while gas was down 5%.
Wind turbines produced 24 TWh in the quarter, and together with other renewables sources, including solar, biomass and hydro, accounted for nearly 42% of Britain’s electricity. Coal supplied 1.3%, nuclear 12.5% and imports represented 12.6%.
“In the space of a decade the UK has almost completely cut out coal, after relying on the most polluting fossil fuel for over a century to power our country,” said Iain Staffell of Imperial College London and lead author of the Drax Electric Insights series.
"There are still many hurdles to reaching a completely fossil fuel-free grid, but wind out supplying gas for the first time is a genuine milestone event, and shows what can be achieved when governments create a good environment for investors in clean technology,” added Staffell.
Drax aims to become carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology.