50% of UK energy from low carbon sources

22nd December 2016 | Commercial Energy

Half of the UK’s electricity came from low carbon sources including, wind turbines, solar panels, wood burning and nuclear reactors between July and September 2016. Official figures show low carbon power, which has been supported by the Government to meet climate change targets, accounted for 50% of electricity generation in the UK in the third quarter, up from 45.3% the year before.

The rise was largely driven by new wind farms and solar farms being connected to the grid, and several major coal power stations closing down.

In Scotland, the share of low carbon power is even greater, and now stands at 77% of electricity generation. A record 29% of Scotland’s electricity was exported, with almost all of it going to England.


The renewables and nuclear industry said the figures for Scotland were “fantastic” and demonstrated how carbon emissions could be cut while maintaining security of supply. Scotland’s last coal power station closed in the spring, and coal plants in West Yorkshire and Staffordshire were shuttered. That caused coal power’s share of generation to plummet by more than three quarters. This was down from 16.7% in Q3 2015, to just 3.6% in the same period this year.

Environmental measures have made coal power increasingly uneconomic in the UK. Ministers have promised to phase it out entirely by 2025 at the latest. Despite a recent rise in wholesale prices, which were blamed for one small energy supplier going bust last month, the average household energy bill was down 4.6% in 2016 to £1,237.

A spokesman for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said, “We have made a firm commitment to reducing the UK’s carbon emissions, and these statistics show that we are doing exactly that.”

So the future is looking good in the low carbon sector.

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