How Has Storm Ciara Affected UKs Wind Farms?

Wind turbines are some of the most resources of renewable energy in the UK, thanks to the strong gusts felt across the country and around its coastline.


Britain’s position as an island situated between Europe and North America means it is exposed to strong currents due to changes in temperature. Some areas of the UK even experience wind speeds of up to 14.7 knots on average, also in part due to its mountainous landscape.


This week has been exceptional in terms of tumultuous weather, with Storm Ciara sweeping in and causing 97 miles per hour (mph) winds at the Needles off the Isle of Wight earlier this week.


The Met Office has warned “this could end up being the biggest storm since 1987”, when gusts reached 100 mph.


Senior meteorologist at the Met Office Helen Roberts stated: “This is probably the biggest storm this century. I have not seen amber warnings on this scale, across all of Wales and much of England.”


As a result, flights have been cancelled, trains severely delayed or slowed down to 50 mph, and 421,000 people have been left without power so far, with 118,000 suffering from a black-out at the same time.


While it is causing widespread disruption across the UK, all this wind could be beneficial to generating energy. However, this is only so long as the winds are not too fast and the storm is not so vicious.


Indeed, Europe has also experienced the wrath of Storm Ciara, and Belgium had to shut down its offshore wind farm as a result. revealed the winds were so strong, the turbines stopped automatically as a safety mechanism, as they would have rotated too quickly and potentially become dangerous.


Belgium has also been badly affected by the storm, with 60 flights to and from Brussels having been cancelled, while trees and scaffolding in the city have fallen and buildings been damaged.


Germany has also had to cancel flights, affecting travel to and from Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Hanover and Dusseldorf.


One of the busiest airports in the country – Amsterdam Schiphol – also had to cancel 240 journeys earlier this week, as it was too dangerous for planes to take off or land at the travel hub.


While wind farms might not be able to benefit from these strong gusts, this form of power still remains the biggest source of renewable energy in Britain. Indeed, recent research from Carbon Brief found it made up a fifth of the UK’s electricity during the third quarter of 2019, thanks to a number of new wind farms opening up over the last few years.


In comparison, renewable biomass plants accounted for 12 per cent of electricity, and solar energy contributed six per cent to electricity use.


The findings also revealed that renewable energy made 40 per cent of the UK’s electricity during Q3, providing more energy than fossil fuels (39 per cent) for the first time in history.


Indeed, green energy produced 29.5 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity between July and September 2019, while fossil fuels were responsible for 29.1 TWh.


To find out more information about offshore wind farm maintenance to ensure your turbines continue working despite the tumultuous weather, get in touch with us today.

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