BWEA Chief Executive Maria McCaffery, will announce at BWEA31 that wind energy has now broken the barrier of 4GW of installed capacity. The UK sector now powers the equivalent of Scotland's household needs, or 2.3 million homes.
The milestone was broken by the final commissioning of three wind farms - the EDF Energy Renewables 38MW Longpark, Scottish Power Renewables 30MW Dun Law extension and the first phase of Dong Energy's 173MW Gunfleet Sands offshore wind farm.
The news was welcomed by key policy decision makers, and leading industry figures as proof that wind energy is making a real difference to the UK's electricity supply.
Deployment of wind energy is rapidly accelerating, adding the latest 1GW of capacity in less than a year. This compares to 14 years to deliver the first GW in 2005, 20 months to the 2nd GW and a year and a half to the 3rd. Industry experts predict that next year will see the installation of both the 5th and the 6th GW in quick succession.
The trend is set to accelerate even further, as the UK gears up to reach the Renewable Energy Strategy target of 30GW of wind energy by 2020. There are over 12GW of wind schemes either operational, being built or already with planning permission. When this pipeline of projects is built out in 2012, wind energy will have overtaken nuclear in installed capacity.
With another 9GW worth of schemes in planning waiting for approval there are now over 20GW of wind at one stage or another of the development cycle - which would if all those schemes were approved take the UK two/thirds of the way to the Government's 30GW target. However, onshore approvals by local councils have now fallen to a new low, with just 25% of applications being approved.
Adam Bruce, BWEA Chairman said:
"The delivery of the 4th GW of wind energy, in the teeth of the UK's worst recession in a generation, is an indication of the maturity and resilience of our sector.
Taken together with the 9GW of projects that have planning consent, or that are already in construction, and the wind sector is almost half way to delivering its share of the 2020 targets. We are more than doing our bit to help deliver a low carbon, high growth future for the UK."