Wind power has become one of the most important energy sources to consumers and industries in the United Kingdom. With coal being slowly phased out of the country's power mix, efforts to increase renewable shares brought the cumulative capacity of wind power to a total of 24 gigawatts in 2019. This results from sizeable increases in both onshore and offshore capacity, which are up 10 GW and 8.5 GW, respectively.
Onshore and offshore wind in the UK
Onshore plants still account for the greatest share of capacity installed, there being nearly 1,500 wind farms spread across the country. However, despite the difference in offshore capacity being significantly lower, offshore turbines generated close to the same amount of electricity and heat in terms of energy generation. Wind generators became the UK’s second-largest electricity source, contributing almost one-fifth of the UK’s total generation. In 2019, wind plants at sea contributed 32,146 gigawatt hours to the power grid, compared with 32,189 gigawatt hours added by onshore sites. This may be due to the greater utilization rate of offshore wind energy. Between 2010 and 2019, the load factor for offshore turbines grew from 30.5 to 40.4 percent, whilst turbines situated on land had a load factor ranging from 21.8 to 26.6 percent in the same time period.
Clyde Wind Farm, the biggest onshore site in the UK, has a capacity of 350 megawatts and is made up of 152 turbines. Only two of the currently operational wind farms on land have a capacity exceeding 300 megawatts, whereas this number was over a dozen for offshore sites.
Growth of UK wind generation
Commercial wind farms comprising a series of wind turbines at a single site were introduced in the UK in 1991 with the Delabole wind farm's opening. From then to the present, onshore and offshore wind capacity grew dramatically. The wind industry generated 8,750 million euros in turnover in 2018, making it the second most profitable in the European Union following Germany. This is the result of greater productivity in the sector and also reflected in the number of jobs added that year. Employment figures grew to a peak of 82,800.
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In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 22 most important statistics relating to "Wind energy in the UK".