The UK’s energy system needs to prepare for a once-in-a-decade prolonged period of low wind resources and reduced daylight, according to a new report.
Academics from Imperial College London said that recent blackouts in Texas show the danger of overlooking extreme weather risks and underline the need for a more flexible energy system. The report pointed out the UK experienced its longest spell of low wind output in more than a decade during the first quarter of this year. Output from the country’s 24.4 gigawatt (GW) wind turbine fleet fell to as low as 0.6 GW on 3 March, in sharp contrast to the 18.1 GW delivered later that month.
Dr Iain Staffell of Imperial College London, and lead author of the quarterly Drax Electric Insights report, said: “Renewable power sources have made our country cleaner and greener, but as they rely on the ever-changing British weather, completing our transition away from fossil fuels comes with serious challenges.”
To bridge the gap and deliver a net zero energy system, the report said the UK needs to invest in more flexible capacity, such as long duration energy storage.
Meanwhile, strong winds have seen GB set a new all-time high for electricity generated from wind turbines. Between 2am and 3am on 21 May, wind made-up 62.5% of Britain’s electricity mix, beating the previous record of 59.9% from August last year, according to National Grid.