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Wind power once again smashes generation record as gusty weather continues

Wind generation hit 17.7GW between 3.30-4:30pm on Friday 21 May 2021.

Wind generation hit 17.7GW between 3.30-4:30pm on Friday 21 May 2021.

Wind generation has once again smashed its previous record, with blustery weather on Friday 21 May driving it to a new peak of 17.7GW between 3.30-4:30pm.

This just scraped past the previous record, set on the wet bank holiday Monday 3 May at 3.30pm when it hit 17.6GW, according to National Grid ESO. This in turn topped a record set in February, when the Beast from the East 2 pushed generation up to 17.5GW.

Additionally, wind broke a second record on Friday, producing the largest share of the energy mix it ever has. At 2am-3am, wind generation was meeting 62.5% of electricity demand in Britain, with generation at 16.3GW.

This beat the record set in 2020, when gales brought about by Storm Francis pushed wind power to produce 59.9% of the country’s electricity at 1.30am on 26 August when wind was producing 14.2GW.

Records were broken all through 2020, in part because demand was low due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, but the trend has continued solidly into 2021.

While wind generation records are welcomed, new research from Imperial College London this week warned of the risk of ever more changeable weather and its impact on the security of the grid. It pointed to March as an example, which saw wind generation fluctuate between 0.6GW and 18.1GW according to its research, a dramatic swing that led the country to rely more heavily on gas than in the previous year to plug the gaps.

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