wind capacity
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Forecasts using Cornwall Insight’s Renewables pipeline tracker report shows that a total of 1.3GW of new wind capacity could come online in the UK this winter.

This is a 5% rise in total capacity, which could reach 25.4GW. The below graph highlights the forecast growth of wind capacity to March 2021.

Lucy Dolton, Analyst at Cornwall Insight, said: “New capacity anticipated this winter is almost wholly attributed to the Contracts for Difference scheme. Additionally, according to Cornwall Insight’s Renewables Pipeline Tracker report, a further 0.4GW could also come online this winter. While there are no guarantees that these sites will commission this winter with limited announcements on confirmed routes to market, it demonstrates additional capacity in the “queue” of wind sites.

“Despite the forecast showing 1.3GW of wind coming online this winter, these deployment levels are some way off the levels needed to meet net-zero. National Grid ESO’s latest FES 2020 report suggests up to 3GW of new wind assets are required annually to meet targets.

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“While a growing proportion of wind technologies in the generation mix is necessary for reaching net-zero, it is not without its challenges.

“The lack of inertia arising from a larger proportion of asynchronous technologies, including wind, on the system is one such issue. Lower levels of inertia become problematic due to the increased rate of change of frequency (RoCoF), meaning system frequency can deviate more rapidly. As a result, National Grid ESO requires more actions from generators to balance the system, leading to higher balancing costs and BSUoS charges.

“Another variable affected by the greater wind capacity available on the system is wholesale power prices. A larger share of intermittent generation unsurprisingly brings about increased price volatility, demonstrated by periods of high wind output last winter, resulting in wholesale power prices for day-ahead delivery falling negative for the first time.

“With new capacity coming online this winter and the potential for further impacts on demand due to COVID-19, wind generation could once again create challenges in the market.”

Learn more about the analysis.