UK offshore wind farms achieve highest Jan load factors since 2015

Hornsea Project Two. Source: ABB (new.abb.com)

February 25 (Renewables Now) - The average offshore wind load factors during the month of January were at their highest since 2015, with older parks, built before 2016, reaching 52% and newer ones going even higher to 55%.

This was unveiled by research and analysis provider Cornwall Insight, which attributes the higher load factors at newer sites to their use of larger turbines. The consultancy says its research has even shown that some of the newest sites, both offshore and onshore, achieved monthly average load factors close to, or above, 70%. On certain days they even approached 100%.

When it comes to just onshore wind farms, load factors averaged 42% for the month.

Lucy Dolton, analyst at Cornwall Insight, said that the consultancy expects these wind output records to be broken more frequently in the future, given that an additional 1.1 GW of new offshore wind farms are seen to become operational by April 2020. At the same time, the government is targeting an increase in offshore wind capacity to 40 GW by 2030 from 10.8 GW at present.

“Although decarbonisation of the electricity mix is wholly positive, ever-higher levels of wind output are not without its impacts. During periods of high wind output, the subsequent lower wholesale prices put some sites at risk of cannibalising their revenues and can even lead to negative prices, as seen in December,” Dolton added.

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