Belfast Telegraph

Three billion boiled kettles later, UK's first wind farm marks 25th birthday

The UK's first commercial wind farm is celebrating a quarter of a century of generating renewable power.

It is 25 years since turbines were first switched on - on December 21 1991 - at Delabole Wind Farm on the north Cornwall coast, generating power for 2,700 homes a year.

Since then, the UK wind industry has grown from Delabole's 10 turbines to more than 1,000 commercial-scale onshore and offshore projects that generate enough electricity to power 9.5 million homes a year.

Wind power generated 12% of the UK's electricity last year, the industry said.

Delabole, which was bought by renewables company Good Energy in 2002, had a refit between 2009 and 2011 and now consists of four larger turbines that produce enough electricity to power 6,200 homes a year.

Good Energy said since 1991, the wind farm had generated more than 340 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable electricity, enough to boil 3.4 billion kettles and cook more than 40 million Christmas turkeys.

In 2013, it became the first in the UK to offer its own local tariff that offers lower bills to residents. The community receives £10,000 a year to a fund that provides grants to local projects and groups such as a playschool and football club, the company said.

Juliet Davenport, chief executive of Good Energy, said: "This is an incredible achievement for the renewable industry - and a big moment for Delabole.

"Since the turbines started turning, renewable technologies have come a long way, with wind power generating a record-breaking 12% of the UK's electricity in 2015.

"The success of the wind farm has largely been down to the support of the local community who are the real custodians of this site. It's thanks to them, and their belief in the project, that has helped make Delabole the perfect model for further wind power developments here in the UK."

Peter Edwards, who first developed the wind farm, said: "After the wind farm started generating in 1991, one of the main criticisms was that the amount we contributed to the National Grid was so insignificant that we shouldn't have bothered.

"That's why it's so satisfying to see just how far wind energy has come and how it now competes with nuclear."

Across the UK, using wind has avoided burning more than 106 million tonnes of coal over the past 25 years, industry body RenewableUK said - with 58 million tonnes displaced from 2013 to 2015 as wind power boomed.

RenewableUK's executive director Emma Pinchbeck said: "Wind power is now a mainstream power source in Britain, outperforming and replacing old-fashioned coal.

"It's a crucial part of our new energy system, which is designed to deliver the energy the country needs in the smartest way possible".

She said the industry was supporting tens of thousands of jobs and attracting billions of pounds in investment to the UK.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph