And a gusty weekend throughout led to a number of coal plants being taken offline as they were surplus to requirements.

It follows a record-breaking summer for the renewables industry, as wind overtook coal-fired plants for generation on five separate occasions in August – the first time this has ever happened.

RenewableUK director of external affairs Jennifer Webber said: “This year has seen successive new records for wind generation and this latest evidence shows it’s more than capable of stepping in when traditional sources of generation go offline without warning. As we can expect more of these outages in the future, it’s reassuring to know we have wind filling the energy gap.

“Wind power is often used as a convenient whipping boy by political opponents and vested interests; all the while, it’s been quietly powering millions of homes across the UK and providing a robust response to its vocal detractors.”

The banner year looks set to continue as the Met Office has warned that next week the UK could be hit by 50mph winds from Hurricane Fay.

The renewables industry will actually be hoping wind speeds don’t get too high, as some turbines have to be deactivated in winds above 62mph.

Stateside success

The renewable revolution appears to be taking hold on both sides of the Atlantic, as a Greenpeace Energydesk investigation today (20 OCtober) revealed that wind power, not shale gas, was the biggest single cause of the fall in US carbon emissions from coal use.

Despite the fanfare surrounding the shale gas boom, of the 16% fall in US carbon emissions since 2007, only around a third (30%) came from switching from coal to gas because natural gas still emits CO2. By contrast, 40% came from the switch from coal to renewables and the remaining 30% from improved efficiency.

Commenting on the findings, Greenpeace energy analyst Lauri Myllyvirta said: “Ahead of a crunch year for global negotiations on a new climate deal, all the evidence points to clean technologies and smarter energy use as the most effective solutions to tackle climate change. Our political leaders will do well to remember this.”

Brad Allen

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