A report published by Drax showed that Christmas day this year was the greenest ever recorded in the UK, with over 40% of the electricity generated on the day coming from renewable sources.
The report is based on data collected for Drax by Electric Insights, and shows that renewable sources, mainly wind turbines, generated a total of 12.4 GW of electricity on December 25th, equivalent to 41% of the total electricity generated on the day. This represents a major increase compared to last year, when 25% of the country’s electricity generated came from renewable sources.
It also represents a 195% increase “compared to five Christmases ago in 2012 when just 4.2GW (or 12% of the energy generated) came from renewables,” according to Drax.
Of the renewable energy generated on Christmas day, 75% – or 9.4GW – came from wind turbines, meaning that they generated almost a third of the UK’s total electricity on the day. This is close to the record for most electricity produced by wind turbines in a single day, set only a few days previously on the 23rd December, when “at its peak 10.8GW of power was generated by wind.” There was also an increase in the amount of electricity produced by biomass plants, at 2GW compared to 0.5 GW in 2012.
Drax Power’s CEO, Andy Koss, said: “These Christmas figures show that the UK energy system really is changing. Renewables are increasingly vital to the UK’s energy mix as we decarbonise and move away from coal.
“Since upgrading half of the power station to run on wood pellets, three million households are powered with renewable energy generated by Drax. We provided 20% of the UK’s renewable power in the first half of 2016.
“Biomass allows for more continuous power generation than other intermittent renewables, which is important for security of supply. With the right conditions, we can do even more, converting further units at Drax to use sustainable biomass in place of coal and through rapid response gas projects to plug the gaps created by intermittent renewables.”