The path to 100% renewable energy: UK hits 30% renewables

  • Published on September 29th, 2017

Can the UK hit 100% renewable energy? New official statistics from the UK Government have shown that the country’s renewable energy sector generated nearly 30% of the country’s electricity in the second quarter, with wind energy producing more electricity than any other clean energy source.

By Joshua S Hill 

The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy this week published its regular energy statistics for the past quarter, in which it revealed that not only did renewable energy account for a record 29.8% of electricity generation, but low-carbon electricity generation (made up of renewables and nuclear) accounted for a record high of 53.4% of all electricity in the second quarter, compared to 46.7% at the same time a year ago.

Low carbon share of electricity generation

Renewable electricity generation for the second quarter reached 22.5 TWh (terawatt-hours), an increase of 13.6% over the same quarter a year ago, though 10.3% lower than peak quarterly generation recorded in the first quarter of this year.

Renewable electricity generation

Onshore wind generation increased by an impressive 50%, or 2 TWh in the quarter, reaching its highest ever peak of 6 TWh. Offshore wind rose 22% to 4 TWh, while generation from biodegradable waste was up 30% to 0.8 TWh for the quarter.

Meanwhile, cumulative capacity for renewable electricity reached 38 GW at the end of the second quarter, a 13.2% increase on the same quarter a year earlier and a 1.5% increase on the first quarter. The increase was driven primarily by onshore wind, as well as a little from solar PV.

When expanding to low-carbon generation, nuclear energy accounted for 23.6% of total electricity generated in the second quarter, while gas — the UK’s largest source of energy generation — accounted for 41.3%, leaving coal a record low of only 2.1%.

“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, Director of the UK’s trade body representing wind and wave & tidal energy, RenewableUK.

“The UK’s renewable energy sector is an industrial success story, attracting investment, creating new jobs, and powering our economy.

“Onshore wind performed particularly well, with generation increasing by 50% compared to the same period last year. Onshore wind is the cheapest form of new power plant, so it plays an absolutely crucial role in keeping consumer bills down. When the Government holds the next set of competitive auctions for contracts to generate electricity, low-cost onshore wind deserves the chance to compete.”

(Originally appeared at our sister-site, Cleantechnica. Wind and Solar image by Real Infrastructure Capital Projects)

About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, a liberal left-winger, and believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I work as Associate Editor for the Important Media Network and write for CleanTechnica and Planetsave. I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), Amazing Stories, the Stabley Times and Medium.   I love words with a passion, both creating them and reading them.