UK offshore wind farms' electricity output rose by a half during the first quarter (Q1) of 2012 compared to the same period a year earlier, according to energy statistics issued by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
UK Energy Statistics indicate that offshore wind contributed 1.5TWh between January and March 2012, representing 1.5% of total electricity production. Renewable sources as a whole provided 11.1TWh, some 39% up on Q1 2011.
DECC’s statistics also note an even-stronger performance by the UK offshore wind sector during Q4 2011, when generation was 1.9TWh. This compares with an average of 1.1TWh in each of the preceding three quarters.
Slightly higher-than-average wind speeds have underpinned some of the recent increase, but the jump is largely due to additional offshore capacity coming on stream. Additional capacity began to come online at Walney offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea from November 2011, supplementing the development’s existing 183.6MW. The wind farm now boasts a capacity just over 367MW.
Trade association, RenewableUK, welcomed the statistics. Its director of policy, Gordon Edge, said the data provided "a powerful indication" that green growth was taking hold: "Wind is working and providing an increasing share of our electricity supply".