Storms produce record UK wind power output

LONDON Fri Jan 6, 2012 6:42am EST

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LONDON (Reuters) - British wind power production reached a record high just before the New Year as storms hit the British Isles and powered onshore and offshore wind turbines, beating the previous high by nearly 20 percent, generation data showed on Friday.

Wind farms produced a record 12.2 percent of UK energy demand on December 28, statistics provided by green energy association RenewableUK showed, displacing the previous record of 10 percent.

"Wind energy represents a new paradigm in electricity generation, allowing us to harness the power of the weather when it's available, cutting our fossil fuel bills and lowering our carbon emissions," said Gordon Edge, director of policy at RenewableUK.

Storms hit Britain over the New Year, which helped power wind farms but also cut off power supply to more than 100,000 households as uprooted trees and debris damaged electricity cables and poles.

Average wind power production between December 1, 2011 and January 5, 2012 covered 5.3 percent of UK power demand, RenewableUK data showed.

Wind power is considered a key energy resource to help Britain meet its legally-binding target of cutting carbon emissions by 34 percent below 1990 levels by the end of this decade.

UK wind power capacity is expected to grow by one third this year, bringing total installed wind capacity to around 8,000 megawatts (MW), the association said.

(Reporting by Karolin Schaps)

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