Working towards an all-green Britain

Working towards an all-green Britain

Working towards an all-green Britain

Renewables beat coal to generate more than a quarter of UK electricity  

The amount of the UK's electricity that comes from renewable sources has finally exceeded that from coal-fired and nuclear power stations, according to new statistics.

Published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) on September 24th, the figures - which date from the second quarter of 2015 - show that wind, solar, hydro and biofuels contributed just over a quarter (25.3 per cent) of the country's electricity between April and June. This represents an increase of 51.4 per cent year on year.

It also compares to just 20.5 per cent for coal, marking the first time renewables have outperformed the energy source over a whole three-month period. They also beat nuclear power, which generated 21.5 per cent of the UK's electricity during the quarter.

Only gas, which accounted for just under a third (30.2 per cent) of overall production, provided more of the nation's power than renewables.

Breaking down the figures, onshore and offshore wind farms were responsible for 42 per cent of renewably-sourced electricity, or 10.7 per cent of the UK's electricity as a whole.

The UK's second-largest source of electricity

Maria McCaffery, chief executive of trade association RenewableUK, was among those to welcome the new statistics from Decc.

"Renewables have now become Britain's second-largest source of electricity, generating more than a quarter of our needs," she commented. "The new statistics show that Britain is relying increasingly on dependable renewable sources to keep the country powered up, with onshore and offshore wind playing the leading roles in our clean energy mix."

However, Ms McCaffery also expressed a desire for "clearer signals from government" regarding its support for the construction of new onshore and offshore wind farms, utility-scale solar arrays and other renewable energy infrastructure.

She claimed that since the general election in May, ministers have issued "a series of disappointing announcements… which unfortunately betray a lack of positive ambition at the heart of government".

"If ministers want to see good statistics like we’ve had today continuing into the years ahead, they have to knuckle down, listen to the high level of public support we enjoy, and start making positive announcements on wind, wave and tidal energy," the chief executive continued.

Working towards an all-green Britain

Last week (September 21st), a Greenpeace-sponsored study from Demand Energy Equality outlined the steps the UK would have to take to meet a target of 85 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

It said the country will have to create twice as many offshore wind farms as currently exist or are due to be built, as well as increase generation from other renewable sources by 47 per cent.

Beyond that, Britain needs "a revolution in home insulation" and the use of smart technologies to reduce its overall electricity use, the study found.

Posted by Julie Tucker