More than half of the electricity generated in the UK in 2017 came from low-carbon sources for the first time ever, new analysis has concluded.
Renewables and nuclear provided more electricity than all fossil fuels combined, with wind generation alone supplying twice as much energy as coal, according to analysis by Carbon Brief, a website that tracks climate change and energy policy.
It found that wind made a greater contribution to the country’s electricity needs than coal in every month apart from January. The share from low-carbon sources doubled between 2008 and 2017, Carbon Brief said. Much of this was due to a greatly reduced amount of coal power as older plants have reached the end of their lives.
The UK has also added wind and solar power generation rapidly, as costs have fallen. Future development will increasingly be possible without the Government subsidies that have aided the industry’s development until now, Carbon Brief said.
The UK also passed a series of other milestones last year, including its first day without coal power since 1882, the most electricity produced from solar power at any one moment and the most wind power produced in a day.
Wind saw the biggest increase of any energy source, with supply up 31 per cent for the whole of 2017 on 2016’s level, partly thanks to high wind speeds, Carbon Brief said.
Gas remained the largest single fuel source, generating around 40 per cent of the UK’s needs, while nuclear accounted for around a fifth of electricity supply.
“Eighty per cent of UK emissions reduction in the past five years has come from burning less coal,” Mr Evans said.
The latest findings come after the National Grid hailed 2017 as the “greenest ever” for the UK.
Britain’s power system is the fourth cleanest in Europe and the seventh cleanest in the world, according to National Grid’s data.