Record-breaking end to 2013 for wind energy in Europe

• January 8, 2014
wind energy in Europe

Spain and the UK saw record breaking levels of wind by the end of December 2013. Creative Commons: Brian Coyle, 2005

Europe’s renewable energy industry ended 2013 on an all time high, as last year proved to be record breaking for wind power in both the UK and Spain.

Spanish grid operator Asociación Empresarial Eólica (AEE) confirmed earlier this week, that wind farms provided more of the country’s power than any other energy source in 2013.

It is the first country to hit this renewable milestone.

21.1% of the total 246,166 GWh of electricity consumed in the country was produced by the wind – which AEE is likely to confirm drove emissions down by over 23%.

Wind farms are estimated to have generated 53,926 GWh of electricity in 2013 – up 12% on the previous year.

With over 21% of the country’s energy share, wind crept past nuclear power – which also provided 21% of Spain’s energy and saw with output falling 8.3% on 2012 levels.

Coal-fired power’s share of the energy mix was also down last year, to 14.6%, while that from combined cycle gas plants fell to 9.6%.

High levels of rainfall meant hydroelectric power output was also up – 16% higher than the historical average.

In total renewable energy sources provided 42.4% of the country’s electricity.

AEE’s report said:

Throughout 2013, the all-time highs of wind power production were exceeded. On February 6, wind power recorded a new maximum of instantaneous power with 17,056MW at 3:49 pm (2.5 per cent up on the previous record registered in April 2012), and that same day the all-time maximum for hourly energy was also exceeded reaching 16,918MWh.

Similarly, in January, February, March and November wind power generation was the technology that made the largest contribution towards the total energy production of the system.

The UK also ended 2013 with record highs for wind energy.

Data released from trade association RenewableUK confirms that both the amount of wind power generated and the percentage of power sourced by wind in the country hit record highs in December.

This is a result of both high winds and an increase in overall capacity over the course of the year.

Over 2.8 million MWh of electricity was provided to the National Grid over the course of the month. That’s enough to power more than 5.7 million UK homes.

Wind power also met 10% of the total electricity demand during December.

Maf Smith, Deputy Chief Executive of Renewable UK said:

This is a towering achievement for the British wind energy industry. It provides cast-iron proof that the direction of travel away from dirty fossil fuels to clean renewable sources is unstoppable…

This gives us a great sense of confidence for the year ahead, when we will continue to increase the amount of clean power we generate from wind, onshore and offshore. As  we do so, we are lessening our dependence on excruciatingly expensive imports of fossil fuels which have driven people’s fuel bills up.

British wind energy is providing a better alternative – a stable, secure, cost-effective supply of home-grown power.

Records were also broken for weekly and daily output in the UK last month.

The week starting 16 December saw 783,886 MWh generated – the highest level to date – while the 21 December saw a new daily record of 132,812 MWh generated or 17% of the day’s total electricity demand.

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