Fans of wind power were vindicated yet again last weekend as it emerged that almost a quarter of the electricity consumed across the EU was generated by turbines.
“European wind energy broke a new record on Saturday 28 October,” industry body WindEurope reported. Wind power accounted for 24.6% of the electricity used in the EU on Saturday, more than double the average of 10.4%.
In terms of raw output, wind energy production in Europe is typically led by Germany and the UK, but Denmark often tops the charts in terms of energy produced as a portion of energy domestically consumed. On average, 42% of Denmark’s electricity is produced by wind turbines.
Last Saturday, Danish wind farms produced 91GWh worth of electricity, 109% of the country’s total consumption. Germany produced 793GWh, equivalent to 61% of its electricity consumption, the UK produced 207GWh (29%) and Spain produced 185GWh (31%).
Several countries saw records broken for production of wind energy per hour, including Germany (39.1GW), Poland (5.1GW), and Norway (0.9GW), WindEurope reports. A new record was set for hourly production across the continent as a whole as well, at 89.9GW.
The particularly high levels of wind power generation over the weekend were due in part to recent rapid expansion of generational capacity across the continent. In 2016, investment in European offshore wind alone reached €14 billion, and this is only set to increase with consistent demonstrations of its cost-effectiveness as a power source.
However, we have more than industriousness to thank for the record breaking performance – as tends to be the case, the weather itself has to take a fair chunk of the credit. Winds were particularly high over the weekend, leading to spikes in power generation.
Renewable energy like wind and solar power’s reliance on weather conditions is both a benefit and a flaw. Extreme weather conditions, whether particularly sunny days or particularly windy days, can lead to massive amounts of energy being produced over short periods of time. Equally, unfavourable conditions can massively dent energy supplies. One solution to this problem is the development of massive battery units that can store energy generated during peak periods in order to then be released when generation slows.