Latest government figures show a ‘record high’ for electrical power produced from sources like wind and solar.
The third quarter of 2017 saw the share of electricity generated from renewable energy sources increase by nearly 5 per cent from the same period last year, reaching 30 per cent.
The latest record is “yet another nail in the coffin for the claim that renewables cannot be a sizeable part of the UK’s electricity mix”, according to Dr Jonathan Marshall, energy analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit.
Low-carbon electricity’s share of generation increased to the highest ever point of 54.4 per cent, particularly due to an upsurge in wind energy.
The results are outlined in the Government’s latest Energy Trends report.
With this year’s slight decrease in the contribution of nuclear power, the boost in low-carbon electricity came largely from recent investments in wind farms and to a lesser extent solar energy.
According to Dr Marshall, this vindicates those who have had confidence in the ability of renewable energy to reliably supply the UK with power.
“When the UK started to put wind farms and solar panels up and down the country, there were a lot of warnings that the unpredictability of the way electricity is generated – as it is only produced when the wind blows and sun shines – would lead to issues balancing the grid,” he said.
Prior to the Climate Change Act of 2008, energy industry representatives and some politicians claimed renewable energy sources would not be able to supply reliable enough for a modern economy to run on.
“These quarterly statistics coming out showing higher and higher rates of renewables show how far away from the mark these predictions were,” said Dr Marshall.
The electricity sector made up 17.5 per cent of the UK’s overall fuel consumption in 2016, and is one of the three major energy system components along with heating and transport.
Though it is makes up a smaller fraction of overall consumption, the electricity sector has been the main target of renewable efforts.
Not only is the sector easier to “decarbonise”, but renewable electricity can then be used to revolutionise the other sectors, for example through the electrification of transport.
Dr Marshall believes: “Record low prices for new renewables will bring bills down for British homes and businesses, on top of maintaining the UK’s leading position in the global battle against climate change.”
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Source – The Independent – Josh Gabbatiss Science Correspondent Thursday 21 December 2017