January 6, 2012 / 1:42 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-Storms produce record UK wind power output

* Wind farms produced record 12.2% of UK demand

* UK daily wind farm load factor reached 66% on Jan. 4

* Wind power capacity to grow by one third this year (Recasts, adds Scottish Renewables statistics on load factor)

LONDON, Jan 6 (Reuters) - British wind power production reached a record high just before the New Year as storms hit the British Isles and powered onshore and offshore wind turbines, data showed on Friday.

Wind farms produced a record 12.2 percent of UK energy demand on Dec. 28, statistics provided by green energy association RenewableUK showed, displacing the previous record of 10 percent.

“Wind energy represents a new paradigm in electricity generation, allowing us to harness the power of the weather when it’s available, cutting our fossil fuel bills and lowering our carbon emissions,” said Gordon Edge, director of policy at RenewableUK.

The storms earlier this week also more than doubled the average load factor — the ratio of average output over maximum capacity over a period of time — of wind turbines to up to 66 percent on Jan. 4, compared with an average of around 30 percent, Scottish Renewables figures showed on Friday.

The heavy storms that hit Britain over the New Year period at the same time cut off electricity supply to more than 100,000 households as uprooted trees and debris damaged electricity cables and poles.

Average wind power production between Dec. 1, 2011 and Jan. 5, 2012 covered 5.3 percent of UK power demand, RenewableUK said.

Wind power is considered a key energy resource to help Britain meet its legally binding target of cutting carbon emissions by 34 percent below 1990 levels by the end of this decade.

UK wind power capacity is expected to grow by one third this year, bringing total installed wind capacity to around 8,000 megawatts (MW), the association said. (Reporting by Karolin Schaps, editing by Jane Baird)

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