Over the past few weeks, renewable energy has found itself in the mainstream news once again as the two candidates in the Conservative Party leadership race have displayed differing stances on the renewables sector. The price of oil has fluctuated and escalated dramatically throughout 2022, due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and an increased demand following the lifting of COVID-19 lockdowns. The cost of living crisis caused by this has left more mainstream media looking toward the advantages of renewable energy, such as the cost-effectiveness of wind power and its potential to circumvent the economic worries and meet our net zero goals.
Fortunately, the renewables sector has been growing exponentially over the past few decades. Of the four major sources of renewable energy (wind, solar, hydroelectric, and bioelectric), wind power has proven itself to be the most popular, reaching a capacity of 15gigawatts a year in 2017, enough to power 39% of homes in the UK. More recently, we discussed the foundations being laid at Dogger Bank wind farm, off the shore of the UK, which will be the world’s largest wind farm upon completion.
This week, RenewableUK has reported that the UK has now reached an important milestone: 25.5gw a year is now being produced by onshore and offshore wind farms, enough to power 66% of UK homes. This marks a 70% increase since 2017, which has left many excited about the continuous progression of the wind power industry.
The government’s 2030 target is for offshore wind power to reach a capacity of 50gw and The Climate Change Committee has recommended that onshore wind power aims for a capacity of 29gw. Dan McGrail, Chief Executive of RenewableUK has said “Wind is the cheapest source of new power for the UK, as last month’s record-breaking auction for the next round of renewable energy projects showed. So, we need to get on with building bigger clean energy projects faster, to help ease the pain for consumers faced with exorbitant gas bills which many people will be unable to pay.”
Reaching these milestones, as well as the recent developments at Dogger Bank, are important signifiers of the impressive developments taking place in the renewables sector. Provided the current infrastructural support continues to grow, the UK looks on track to meet the government’s carbon emission targets.
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