Hunt unveils UK’s hidden gem in energy crisis generating 60% of power
UK government releases new energy saving advert
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Jeremy Hunt has revealed that the UK is sitting on an energy goldmine, as wind power has generated record amounts of energy in the past year. In a keynote speech at Bloomberg’s European headquarters in London, the Chancellor delivered an upbeat message as he unveiled his plan to turbocharge Britain’s economy. At this speech, Mr Hunt hailed the UK’s renewable energy industry as a “big growth area”, which he estimates could be worth a trillion pounds by the end of the decade. He also pointed to recent announcements made by the National Grid’s Electricity Systems Operator, which showed that the UK has produced staggering amounts of electricity in the past year.
In the speech, Mr Hunt said: “Another big growth area is out green and clean energy sector. The UK is a world leader here, with the largest offshore wind farm in the world.
“Last year we were able to generate an incredible 40 percent of our electricity from renewables. On one day, on a rather windy December 30th, we actually got 60 percent of our electricity from renewables, mainly wind.
“McKinsey estimates that the global market opportunity for the UK green industries could be worth more than a trillion pounds between now and 2030.”
The Chancellor was referring to recent events, as the National Grid ESO confirmed that on 30th December, the UK generated a record 20.9 GW of electricity in the half-hour period between 6 and 6.30 pm.
This new output beat the previous record that was hit just over a month ago, generating 20.896GW on 2nd November. Overall, wind provided 61.4 per cent of the UK’s electricity on December 30.
This record wind energy production helped the National Grid smash another record on the same day, as the percentage of zero carbon electricity generated onto the grid hit a stunning new record of 87.6 percent.
RenewableUK’s CEO Dan McGrail said: “The fact that the UK’s onshore and offshore wind farms keep setting new electricity generation records shows just how important this technology has become in our modern energy system. Wind power is playing a central role in keeping UK homes and businesses powered up at the coldest time of the year.”
Last January, wind-powered electricity was responsible for its biggest-ever share of the energy mix, accounting for 64 percent of generation. Analysis from energy experts has previously shown that offshore wind energy was around nine times cheaper than gas prices at the time.
The Carbon Brief’s analysis revealed that the Government had granted a number of contracts to offshore wind farm producers to generate electricity at an average price of £48 per megawatt-hour (MWh) That was nine times cheaper than the £446/MWh cost of running gas-fired power stations during that period.
It comes after Russia’s war in Ukraine triggered global gas price spirals, which had a major knock-on impact on energy billpayers in the UK. In fact, Britons are now forking out double the amount there were in 2021 because of this.
Policymakers and energy experts have repeatedly called for Britain to boost its homegrown clean power sources to free itself from volatile fossil fuel markets so Britain can boost its security and help drive down prices. But while windfarms made up a significant portion of the energy mix in 2022, gas-fired power stations also hit a new record.
They accounted for 38.5 percent of the energy mix, a three-year high. This made it the largest source of generation despite gas prices surging astronomically last year. The energy sources also still heat up to 80 percent of British homes, according to the Office for National Statistics.
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Speaking to Express.co.uk, Andy Willis, the CEO of Kona Energy explained the significance of the milestone, saying: “Yesterday, the National grid hit a record. They had over 20GW of wind blowing at one time, which is more than its ever been as it’s been a particularly windy day yesterday.
“In that circumstance, what the National Grid will do is use as much wind as they possibly can. The idea behind that is theoretically it is the cheapest resource because obviously for a turbine to blow you don’t have any fuel costs or anything like that.
“If they still need additional energy from somewhere else, that’s when they use electricity from gas-fired power stations or coal-fired power stations.#
“But the National Grid does a great job at utilising the cheapest energy resource first, which is always going to be solar or wind, and our logic is that you should use batteries to meet that shortfall. But until we have more online, we have to use more gas-fired power stations to meet the shortfall.”
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