From June 2011 through September 2012, the U.K. installed approximately 1.825 GW of wind energy capacity, bringing the nation's total installed capacity to 7.4 GW, according to a new report released by RenewableUK.
With these new installations, the U.K. has more than eight times as much capacity installed than in 2004 and is on track to have 13.5 GW of wind power capacity in operation by the end of 2014.
Furthermore, wind power is expected to provide up to 7% of the U.K.'s electricity by the end of this year and trail only natural gas as the leading energy source by 2020.
For the first time in five years, the U.K. saw a rise in the amount of onshore wind capacity being approved at the local level, with decision times 10% quicker than last year's, according to RenewableUK.
This suggests that developers, communities and local governments are working together better than ever before. This was demonstrated most significantly in England, where approved capacity at the local level (i.e., for schemes below 50 MW) increased from 25% in 2010-2011 to 40% in 2011-2012.
In the U.K., a record 1.701 GW of onshore wind projects were approved this year, compared to 1.142 GW last year – representing a leap of nearly 50% – and 1.357 GW of offshore wind projects were approved between July 2011 and July 2012.
At the end of June, 258 onshore projects representing 3.922 GW were awaiting construction, and 206 onshore projects were submitted for approval – the highest annual rate of project submissions to date. In addition, seven new offshore projects with a combined capacity of 3.305 GW were submitted into planning.