30 years of UK wind energy

This year marks the 30th year of wind energy generation in the UK. From 10 turbines in Cornwall, a site now owned by Good Energy, to the recent install of Ørsted’s 1000th, located in the North Sea. Here’s how we got there.

Inforgraphic of wind energy generation with transcript below

Infographic transcript:

All images are done in an illustrative style, with an isometric style.

  • 1991
    [image of 10 wind turbines]
    • 10 wind turbines went live at The Delabole, Cornwall.
    • It was the 1st UK commercial wind turbine farm, owned by two landowners, who opted to use the site for wind over nuclear.
      [image of a nuclear plant with a green circle and white question mark]
    • The site is now owned by Good Energy
      [image of yellow logo circle with good energy]
  • 1990 to 2015
    [image of smart meter illustration with wind turbine in centre, and 21oC marked]
    • Wind generated 185,493 GWhs of electricity in the UK**
  • As of June 2021
    [image depicts a green side with tress and two small turbines on the left, with a blue sea on the right with 6 large turbines]
    • Wind generated over 65,913 GWhs/pa* from 10,961 turbines* across UK’s wind farms.
    • Onshore – 8,669 turbines, 2,582 projects, with power potential of 13,747 MWhs daily
    • Offshore – 2,292 turbines, 39 projects, with power potential of 10,415 MWhs daily
  • Currently, enough energy to power 18,421,994 UK homes* each day
    [image of small home with green roof, an electrical charging point outside next to a orange car]
  • Over two-thirds *** of all UK homes powered by wind, with a saving of 29.4million tonnes of CO2.
    [image of 18 homes, 12 with green roofs and 6 with grey roofs]
  • Many offshore turbines generate enough power to energise one home with just one rotation.****
    [image of a large turbine in a blue sea on the left, with green-roofed home on the right, with an electrical bolt above it. Next to a smaller turbine and a handful of trees]
  • Turbines in the sea are often much greater in size, while some onshore turbines are generating less than 1MW of energy. This is why offshore, with a third of the turbines, can generate nearly the same energy as their onshore cousins.

Data as of 24/06/21 UK | Copyright BiU Ltd
Good Energy logo used with permission


* Renewable UK, www.renewableuk.com – data does not include wind turbine projects of less than 100kW generation.
** BEIS, Renewable sources used to generate electricity and heat; electricity generated from renewable sources 1990 to 2015 (DUKES 6.1.1)
*** Calculation based on approximately 27 million homes across the UK, 2020.
**** BBC News, Wind turbines: How UK wants to become ‘Saudi Arabia of wind’, www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-57519392
– CO2 information is from government data modelling