Renewables supplied more than 40% of electricity during first quarter of 2020, overtaking fossil fuels as storms battered the U.K. Output from wind farms was up by 40% compared with the first three months of 2019 as severe storms meant Britain experienced the wettest and windiest February on record, according to the Electric Insights report, commissioned by Drax Group Plc and researched by a team of independent academics from Imperial College in London.

Making sure the grid isn’t overloaded by wind and solar is a challenge for National Grid Plc but a drop in demand caused by lockdown measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 has made it more difficult. The grid operator asked for emergency powers to switch off renewable generators if needed to limit supply.

“Having flexibility within the power system at these critical moments is crucial to keeping Britain’s lights on,” said Iain Staffell, author of the report published Thursday.

  • Electricity demand on weekdays is down 13% to lowest level since 1982 since lockdown began
  • Electricity generation from fossil fuels was down 25% in the first quarter from a year earlier
  • U.K. wind generation record are likely to be superceeded as two large offshore wind farms are due to come online later this year. Hornsea One and East Anglia One, combined, are big enough to power 1.5 million homes