Statistical Briefing Sheet: Reaching 5 gigawatts of wind capacity in the UK.

  1. The UK will, as of Thursday, have 5,056 megawatts (MW) or 5.1 gigawatts (GW) of wind energy generating capacity installed. This will be split between 1,341 MW of offshore wind and 3,715 MW of onshore wind.
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  3. The total number of utility scale wind turbines in the UK will be 3076, counting both onshore and offshore. 2640 will be onshore and 436 offshore.

  4. In practical terms this means that wind will provide just over 4% of the UK’s total electricity consumption, with other renewables providing around 5%. In terms of homes powered, 5 GW is sufficient to satisfy the annual electricity consumption of just under 3 million homes (using 2008 load factors of 29.8% for onshore and 34.9% for offshore).

  5. At 1,341 MW the UK will have more offshore wind capacity than the rest of the world put together. The world wide total excluding the UK is estimated at around 1,100 MW.

  6. In terms of onshore, the UK has just 1 turbine per each 100 square kilometres of onshore land mass, compared to 11 in Denmark, 6 in Germany and the Netherlands, 3 in Spain and 2 in Portugal and Ireland.

  7. On average, due to better wind conditions a wind turbine in the UK generates 50% more electricity than the same wind turbine in Germany. However, Germany has 21,315 wind turbines installed compared to the UK’s 3,076.

  8. In terms of electricity delivered to the grid the output from UK’s renewable power stations is expected to overtake nuclear in 2013.

  9. Currently, there are 2,576 MW (966 turbines) of projects in construction onshore and offshore in the UK, and a further 6,166 MW (2311 turbines) with planning consent. Together existing renewable and wind capacity, this should increase the share of renewables to around 15% of all consumption.

  10. The current onshore capacity in the planning system is 7.4 GW. This is sufficient to satisfy the annual electricity consumption of over 4 million homes, and could bring £10 billion of investment at the construction stage.

  11. UK Government aspirations are to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

Sources: European Wind Energy Association, Global Wind Energy Council, Department of Energy and Climate Change, RenewableUK

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