Climate Action

Beast from the East helps set new UK wind energy record

The UK’s recent bitter cold snap has had at least one redeeming feature: a bountiful supply of clean electricity.

  • 19 March 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

The UK’s recent bitter cold snap has had at least one redeeming feature: a bountiful supply of clean electricity.

Official statistics from the National Grid have highlighted how March has seen consecutive wind energy records being set in the country. The culmination of this intense cold weather on Saturday saw 14.3 gigawatts (GW) of electricity being generated for the first time, supplying over one third of Britain’s power needs.

Wind was providing precisely 35.7 percent of Britain’s electricity on Saturday, far ahead of gas on 20.3 percent. Nuclear was providing 17.6 percent and coal 12.9 percent.

The 14 GW record surpasses the previous milestone of 13.8GW set on 1st March. When the cold weather, nicknamed the Beast from the East given its origins in Siberia, was at its height on 2nd March, wind was also top of the generation table, supplying 29.1 percent of power.

Emma Pinchbeck, Executive Director at wind energy trade body RenewableUK, said: “Yet again, wind is playing a key role in keeping Britain going during a cold spell. When the mini Beast from the East struck on Saturday, over a third of the UK’s electricity was being generated by wind.

We’re harnessing a reliable, home-grown source of power which reduces our dependence on imports to maintain the security of our energy supplies”.


The National Grid’s control room tweeted out the news over the weekend

The high levels of renewable generation are also far from a one off. The UK has made extraordinary strides towards increasing its wind power capacity in recent years. 2017 also saw a record 15 percent of all the UK’s electricity coming from wind power alone. All renewables, taking in solar, bioenergy, and hydro, supplied 25 percent.


Photo Credit: Thomas Richter