2017 was the greenest year on record for UK energy generation, according to researchers from Imperial College London. The year saw Britain producing more energy from renewable sources than ever before.
Dr Iain Staffell’s Electric Insights report showed that 50% of the country’s electricity came from low carbon sources last year. The combined energy produced by wind, solar, biomass and hydro sources in 2017 would have been enough to power the nation’s total energy needs 60 years ago.
High winds and a growing number of onshore and offshore wind farms meant that these sources contributed 45% more power to the grid in 2017 than they did in 2016. Combined wind, solar, biomass and hydro generated 96 TWh across the year.
UK’s electricity supply is increasingly diverse
The report confirms that the UK’s electricity supply is increasingly diversified. Energy generation from fossil fuels has almost halved since 2010, power demand has dropped 10% and output from renewable sources has increased sixfold. As a result, carbon emissions have fallen 12% from 2016, the equivalent of removing one in seven of Britain’s cars from the road.
2017 also saw soaring production of solar power. Over the fourth quarter of 2017 there were times when solar produced more power than fossil fuels combined; on 8 April it supplied 25% of all demand.
2017 already UK has more solar than predicted
The UK has more than 12.4GW of solar PV capacity and the trend is developing much faster than experts predicted. We already have more solar PV facilities than were predicted for 2050. Around 57% of production is through 1,400 large ground-mounted and standalone farms producing around 5MW each, while the rest is distributed over 910,000 small rooftop systems.
Dr Staffell said: “The UK is a leading light in renewable energy, many of our international partners look to us for leadership. Our energy mix is our strength, and we are showing how several forms of renewable energy can work together to provide a clean, secure and affordable electricity system.”
This is the sixth Electric Insights report, commissioned by the Drax Group. A quarterly report is produced by Dr Staffell in conjunction with other experts from Imperial College London.
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