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Britain pumps up the renewable power

Britain smashed 13 different renewable energy records in 2017, putting it on track to be the greenest year ever for clean electricity production.

The landmarks included: the first 24-hour period without coal generation since the Industrial Revolution; the “greenest” summer ever with 52% of electricity coming from renewable sources; and the most electricity production from solar at any one moment (8.9 gigawatts, which is a quarter of the country’s supply).

 Britain has halved carbon emissions in the electricity sector since 2012, making the power system the 4th cleanest in Europe and the 7th cleanest in the world, noted WWF-UK, which compiled the research along with National Grid.

A separate analysis by Carbon Brief offered more good news. Wind power increased by 31% in 2017 thanks to a 20% growth in capacity and wind speeds that were 7% higher than 2016. Solar and biomass were up 11% and 4% respectively.

Nuclear remained the single largest source of low carbon electricity in the UK.

Amongst the fossil fuel options, gas fell 7% but still took the lion’s share with 40% of all electricity generation last year. Coal generation plummeted by 25%.

Between 2012 and 2017 coal generation has fallen by 84%, noted Carbon Brief.

WWF-UK welcomed the government’s Clean Growth Strategy, launched in September, but called on ministers to follow this up with a detailed plan.

“The UK government admits that it is not yet on track to meet the 4th or 5th Carbon Budget and cannot yet demonstrate how new policy proposals listed in the Clean Growth Strategy get us to the required level of emissions savings in 2032,” WWF-UK noted.