In the UK, almost half of the national electricity supply was generated from low-carbon sources in 2015.Official figures have revealed that renewable energy sources such as wind and solar accounted for 46% of electricity supplied.
[quote] According to published government data, renewables outstripped coal power for the first time last year. [Veolia plans £750m green energy investment in UK]
Maf Smith, deputy chief executive at industry body RenewableUK’s, said: “The Government took the right decision when it announced the phasing out of coal. [Engerati’s Week in Smart Energy: 100% renewable policies needed]
“Now we can see renewable energy filling the gap, replacing old technology with new. 2015 was the first year that renewables outperformed coal.
“A quarter of Britain’s power is now coming from wind, wave and tidal power and other renewable energy sources.
“Renewables are now part of our energy mainstream, helping us modernise the way we keep the lights on by building new infrastructure for the generations to come.”
Coal covered just over 22% of the UK’s total electricity requirement in 2015, which is a decrease of 7% from 30% in 2014. Gas is reported to have accounted for 30% of electricity supply.
Furthermore, use of nuclear power rose to 21% in 2015, compared to the previous year’s figure of 19% - this according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Renewable energy in the UK
Onshore and offshore wind and solar panels boosted renewable power generation. In addition, more rainfall increased hydropower generation.
Drax, the UK’s largest coal-fired power station, situated in North Yorkshire switched another unit from coal to biomass. According to reports, total generation capacity decreased as a result of the closing of several power stations, however, renewables covered some of the shortfall.
The government aims to do away with coal-fired power stations in less than 10 years, and has a renewable energy target of 15% to reach in just over four years under the European Union mandate.
To date, 8.3% of energy used for electricity generation, heating and transport is comes from renewables, up from 7.1% in 2014.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons