Renewables made up close to a third of electricity in the UK during the second quarter of 2017, breaking the country’s previous record (Q1 2017) for the highest percentage of electricity generated from sustainable sources. This is according to a recent government report.
Wind energy saw the most growth, with onshore wind rising by 50 percent (2.0 TWh) to 6.0 TWh and offshore wind up by 22 percent (0.7 TWh) to 4.0 TWh compared to figures from the same time last year. This is thanks to an increase in capacity and wind speeds.
Electricity generation from biodegradable waste has also grown dramatically. Over the past year, it’s risen by 30 percent to provide the country with 0.8 TWh.
Hydro saw the least growth. After an exceptionally dry year, hydro-generated electricity dropped by 12.4 percentage points to 0.8 TWh.
While the share of electricity output met by renewables is at a record high, the total amount generated in Q2 (April to June) is lower than in Q1 (January to March). But this is to be expected as electricity usage tends to drop as temperatures rise.
“It’s terrific to see that nearly a third of the UK’s electricity is now being generated by renewables, with wind power leading the way,” said Emma Pinchbeck, executive director for Renewable UK, in a statement. “The UK’s renewable energy sector is an industrial success story, attracting investment, creating new jobs, and powering our economy.”
Any increase in renewable energy is obviously good news for the planet, our health, and the economy, but Britain still has a way to go if it’s to meet its 2020 targets. The European Union’s goal is to generate 20 percent of its energy (not just electricity) from renewable sources by 2020.
The UK has been set a target of 15 percent and, as of 2015, it’s achieved 8.2 percent. To give that some perspective, it puts the UK in the bottom four of the EU-28 countries. That same year, it produced 22.4 percent of its electricity from renewables.
So let’s hope this trend of green and sustainable energy continues. With the BBC calling 2017 the “greenest ever” summer, we’ll just have to wait and see whether Britain is able to beat its record for the third time.