Video: Record year for offshore wind for both the UK and Grimsby's first investor

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 26 Jan 2016

OFFSHORE wind energy stepped up to the plate in 2015, annual statistics released this month have shown.

In what was a record year for generation from wind, several major schemes came online, including two new farms served out of Grimsby.

It was also a record year for the town's first operator, Centrica, having arrived first with Lynn and Inner Dowsing, then bolstering the presence with Lincs.

Operators that followed, E.on and Dong, have contributed to the major increase, with Humber Gateway and Westermost Rough coming online last year. They helped in the provision of a further 1.2 per cent of electricity used in Britain from the renewable energy source year-on-year, representing nearly half of the added capacity. In total offshore wind accounted for 5.2 per cent of the 11 per cent total from wind, with onshore making up the balance, up from 9.5 per cent in 2014.

A constant through 2015 was Centrica's three wind farms, the first to be operated and maintained out of Grimsby, with Tony Lyon, Centrica's head of renewables, gave Business Telegraph a flavour of exactly what was involved in the record year for the Grimsby site as well as the country.

The 129 turbines across Lincs, Lynn and Inner Dowsing, remain the highest number operated by one company out of Grimsby, and he said they are capable of providing enough power for more than 330,000 homes.

Mr Lyon said: "We're immensely proud of what's been achieved by the team during 2015. Their hard work and dedication during the year helped set new records for generation and increased the availability of the wind farms.

"The Grimsby dock area is a fantastic hub for offshore wind generation and is fundamental to regeneration in the region."

VIDEO: Two of the Centrica team on the every day challenge of making sure we get the energy from offshore wind.

Statistics from the North Quay base showed that the amount of power produced by the wind farms in 2015 was 1,756 MwH, 12.5 per cent higher than 2014.

Underlining the work that goes into the operations and maintenance, Mr Lyon said that in the course of 2015, wind turbines were climbed 1,583 times by engineers, with 91 weather days stopping work being carried out.

There were 1,370 vessel movements between the port and the farms, with 13,850 passengers carried, enabling them to do 166,200 hours of work.

Nationally last month saw a fresh monthly record set for UK generation, with wind supplying 17 per cent of Britain's electricity demand at a time of the year when it's needed most. The previous monthly record of 14 per cent was set in January 2015 – another cold period of the year.

A new weekly record was also set in December, with wind providing 20 per cent of the nation's needs in the last week of the month – Christmas week – up from 19 per cent in the second week of November.

Wind also broke the quarterly generation record in the three month period from October to December 2015, with 13 per cent of the nation's electricity demand met by wind – beating the previous 12 per cent high in the first quarter of 2015.

RenewableUK's director of policy, Dr Gordon Edge, said: "This is a great way to start the new year – the wind industry can be proud that it has shattered weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual generation records in 2015. This re-writes the record books. We've had a bumper harvest thanks to increased deployment and superb wind speeds.

"It also demonstrates why the Government should continue to support wind energy, as we're delivering on our commitment to keep Britain powered up. We can continue to increase the proportion of the nation's electricity which we provide as we move away from fossil fuels to clean sources of power."

As reported late last year, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd's conditional support for the sector was welcomed by those behind the next two schemes to be realised from the Humber, Dong Energy with Hornsea, and RWE and Statkraft with Triton Knoll. Dong's Race Bank is already underway, and will eclipse those already built, with those following larger again.

RenewableUK's deputy chief executive, Barton-born Maf Smith, said: "The UK's wind energy infrastructure pipeline remains healthy in the immediate term, continuing to bring billions of pounds of investment to British companies across the supply chain and supporting 35,000 jobs.

"No Government would want to jeopardise the successful future of such an industry. Government understands this and has set out a long term framework for offshore wind, allowing industry to plan ahead. This means we can attract investment, bring down costs and secure the UK supply chain. This needs to be replicated across the wider renewables sector.

"People understand the importance of investing in renewable energy. That's why they've told the National Infrastructure Commission to make this sector their number one priority. Wind deserves a place in our energy mix."

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