The United Kingdom is one of the best locations for wind power in the world, and is considered to be the best in Europe. Wind power contributed 11% of UK electricity generation in 2015, and 17% in December 2015. Allowing for the costs of pollution, particularly the carbon emissions of other forms of production, onshore wind power is the cheapest form of energy in the United Kingdom. In 2016 the UK generated more electricity from wind power than from coal.
Wind power delivers a growing percentage of the energy in the United Kingdom and in mid-January 2017, it consisted of 7,198 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of just under 14.5 gigawatts: 9,395 megawatts of onshore capacity and 5,098 megawatts of offshore capacity. This placed the United Kingdom at this time as the world's sixth largest producer of wind power (behind 1. China, 2. USA, 3. Germany, 4. India and 5. Spain), having overtaken France and Italy in 2012. Polling of public opinion consistently shows strong support for wind power in the UK, with nearly three quarters of the population agreeing with its use, even for people living near onshore wind turbines.
In 2015, 40.4 TW·h of energy was generated by wind power, and the quarterly generation record was set in the three-month period from October to December 2015, with 13% of the nation’s electricity demand met by wind. 2015 saw 1.2 GW of new wind power capacity brought online, a 9.6% increase of the total UK installed capacity. Three large offshore wind farms came on stream in 2015, Gwynt y Môr (576 MW max. capacity), Humber Gateway (219 MW) and Westermost Rough (210 MW).
Through the Renewables Obligation, British electricity suppliers are now required by law to provide a proportion of their sales from renewable sources such as wind power or pay a penalty fee. The supplier then receives a Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) for each MW·h of electricity they have purchased. Within the United Kingdom, wind power is the largest source of renewable electricity, and the second largest source of renewable energy after biomass. However, the UK's Conservative government is opposed to onshore wind power and has attempted to cancel existing subsidies for onshore wind turbines a year early from April 2016, although the House of Lords have struck these changes down.
Overall, wind power raises costs of electricity slightly. In 2015, it was estimated that the use of wind power in the UK had added £18 to the average yearly electricity bill. This was the additional cost to consumers of using wind to generate about 9.3% of the annual total (see table below) – about £2 for each 1%. Nevertheless, offshore wind power is significantly more expensive than onshore, which raises costs. Offshore wind projects completed in 2012–14 had a levelised cost of electricity of £131/MW·h compared to a wholesale price of £40–50/MW·h; the industry hopes to get the cost down to £100/MW·h for projects approved in 2020....LESS