Celebrating 25 years of British wind power

Posted in: Wind Energy

Posted on: 19.12.2016

Our Delabole Wind Farm in North Cornwall was the first commercial wind farm in the UK – and on the 21st December it turns 25!

We’re celebrating a quarter century of wind generation in the UK. This is a huge achievement for the Delabole community and the renewables industry as a whole.

Making history

25 years ago, in December 1991, Peter Edwards gave the world an early Christmas present when he switched on the wind farm in Delabole – and the UK wind industry was born!  

Back then wind power was not seen as a viable source of energy, but now the wind industry is booming and continues to move from strength to strength.

We spoke to Peter, affectionately known as the “grandfather” of the UK wind industry. He told us “after the wind farm started generating, one of the main criticisms was that the amount we contributed to the National Grid was so insignificant that we shouldn’t have bothered. That’s why it’s so satisfying to see just how far wind energy has come and how it now competes with nuclear. As Bob Dylan once wrote ‘The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind’.”   

 In 2002, Good Energy bought Delabole wind farm from the Edwards family. And in 2010 we decided to invest nearly £12 million to replace the ten small turbines with four more powerful ones. This more than doubled the installed capacity of the site to 9.2MW.

 To date the wind farm has generated a whopping 340GWh of power. That’s enough to boil 3.4 billion kettles or cook more than 40 million turkeys!

Fans of wind power

Wind power popularity is soaring in the UK with 73% of us saying that we support onshore wind farms.

And it’s not hard to see why. As well as providing 12% of the UK’s electricity in 2015, wind power is an important source of clean and renewable electricity.  

In fact, energy from wind farms in the UK prevented almost 36 million tonnes of carbon emissions in six years – equivalent to taking 2.3 million cars off the road.

Our friends at climate change charity Possible will join us for the celebrations. “We couldn't be happier that, after 25 years, Delabole wind farm is still blowing strong” said Possible’s Cecily Spelling. “As the UK's oldest wind farm it really did lay the foundations for the amazing success of onshore wind power here in the UK. Now, 25 years on, onshore wind is not only our cheapest form of low carbon power but remains hugely popular with people up and down the country.”

Friends of the Earth will also get involved in the celebrations. Their Renewable Energy and Climate Campaigner Alasdair Cameron said “What began at Delabole was nothing short of a UK energy revolution - the first commercial wind farm in the country and the first step on a much bigger journey to a cleaner and more democratic energy system.”

Pioneering for the world and our world

The success of the wind farm has largely been down to the support of the local community, who are the real custodians of this site. So we like to make sure they know how much their support is appreciated.

As well as sparking the UK’s wind industry, the Delabole wind farm also pioneered a local tariff that offers the surrounding community renewable electricity at a discounted rate.

We also provide an annual community fund which has put nearly £60,000 into the community over the last 6 years to support local initiatives.

It’s thanks to the local community and their belief in the project that has helped make Delabole the perfect model for further wind power developments here in the UK.

Here’s to a clean, green renewable energy future!

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