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Renewable Energy Overtakes Fossil Fuels in the UK for the First Time

Recent data has confirmed that, for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, the UK is gaining more energy from zero-carbon sources than it is from fossil fuels. The latest figures show that the UK is on its way to meeting climate change goals, with renewable energy use overtaking fossil fuels representing a significant step in the right direction.

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July To September Saw More Energy Generated From Renewables

The climate website Carbon Brief recently released data of an analysis it had made on the sources of energy being used in the UK. It found that between July to September of this year, the use of renewable energy finally overtook that of their fossil fuel counterparts. Data showed that renewables generated 29.5 terawatt-hours, compared with fossil fuels which generated 29.1 terawatt-hours over the same time period.

This represents a significant change in the status quo, given that back in 2010, the difference in energy generation was much more heavily swayed in favor of fossil fuels, with them generating almost 10 times the amount of energy created by renewables.

One of the main reasons for the continuing adoption of renewables has been the lowering cost that has resulted, in part, due to the advancement in renewable technology that has been made in recent years. In fact, recent reports claim that from next year renewables will be consistently cheaper than fossil fuels, making them an even more attractive and viable option.

How The UK Crossed The Threshold

The UK has been able to make the switch to a preference for renewable energy through the implementation number of schemes. Firstly, coal plants across the country are being closed down strategically, getting ahead of the 2025 ban. By next spring there will be only four coal plants left running in the UK.

Less than a decade ago gas and coal represented around four-fifths of the country’s energy production, and now coal represents just 1%. This reduction in reliance on coal power has helped foster in the new age of renewable power.

An increase in the use of wind power has been another strategy that has helped to boost the use of renewable energy across the country. Over recent years new wind farms have been established, which has helped encourage the widespread adoption of wind power, encouraging the country’s transition to renewables.

With the advent of more wind farms, wind has become the UK’s preferred source of renewable power, followed by biomass and then solar power. Two significant projects began recently, that of the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the Hornsea One project, and the Beatrice wind farm located off the north-east coast of Scotland over the summer. These two projects generated so much power that they almost doubled the total power generation capacity of offshore wind power generation.

Significant Steps To Reducing Emissions?

The UK’s minister for energy and clean growth feels confident that this step of renewables overtaking fossil fuels is a key milestone towards the goals set for 2050, when the UK aims to end their contribution to climate change.

The UK has already successfully reduced its emissions by 40% since 1990, and along with the establishment of more wind farms, it is hoped that the country will continue on its path to a zero-emissions future in the coming years. There are ambitious plans for the future of wind-powered energy in the country, with the industry aiming to treble the capacity of offshore wind by 2030. In meeting these plans it is predicted that wind would contribute to roughly a third of the UK’s energy production by this time.

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Sarah Moore

Written by

Sarah Moore

After studying Psychology and then Neuroscience, Sarah quickly found her enjoyment for researching and writing research papers; turning to a passion to connect ideas with people through writing.


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