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Chart of the Week

2020

Get a load of this! Wind output in January 2020

Lucy Dolton Analyst

January 2020 was a ground breaking month for renewables, as National Grid ESO announced GB’s electricity system was the greenest on record. Transmission-level wind generation was 6.3TWh across the month.   High wind output has been aided by new capacity additions with projects such as the 285MW East Anglia One Phase 2 commissioning at the end of 2019 under the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme. These newer sites utilise the most advanced technologies, including larger turbine sizes, and are becoming notably more efficient than their predecessors. This efficiency is reflected in their load factors, which depend on their technology type – i.e. offshore or onshore – but also on the age of the site. “Some of the newest offshore and onshore sites saw monthly average load factors close to, or above, 70% for the month of January, and on some days approached 100%.” As a result of the elevated wind speeds experienced in January, onshore wind load factors averaged 42% for the month, and older offshore sites (pre-2016) reached an average of 52%. Demonstrating the rising efficiency of newer (post-2016) offshore wind farms, load factors averaged 55% for these sites. These are some of the highest load factors seen since the latter end of 2015. Some of the newest offshore and onshore sites saw monthly average load factors close to, or above, 70% for the month of January, and on some days approached 100%. Our Chart of the Week highlights the monthly average load factors for wind technologies, across a sample of around 120 sites that we ...

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