Wind generated more electricity than coal
12th January 2017 | Commercial Energy
In the full calendar year 2016, wind generated more electricity than coal. The milestone is a first for the UK and reflects a collapse in coal generation, which contributed bust 9.2% of UK electricity last year. Wind generated 11.5%. Coal’s decline saw its output fall to the lowest level since 1935.
It also means that CO2 emissions from UK power generation will have fallen by about 20% in 2016. This alone will be enough to cut overall UK CO2 emissions by 6% for the year, if other sectors’ emissions are unchanged.
Wind beats coal
The past 12 months have seen a year of first for the UK’s electricity system. At the broadest level, the UK grid is changing as central power stations are joined by thousands of smaller sites. These are typically renewable, as part of efforts to decarbonise electricity supplies.
Other important factors include falling electricity demand, rising imports from continental Europe and changes in the relative prices of coal and gas on wholesale energy markets. The UK’s top-up carbon tax, the carbon price floor, also doubled in April 2015.
In March 2016 coal generation fell to zero for the first time since public electricity supply started in 1882. Wind generated more electricity than coal in April 2016, the first month this had ever happened.
Solar also generated more electricity than coal in April, again the first month this had ever happened. Solar went on to generate more power than coal during the half year from April to September 2016.
Analysis of the full twelve months of 2016 shows that wind generated more electricity than coal. This was possible largely because of falling coal generation, which was down 59% on a year earlier.
Some 68% of the reduction in fossil-fuelled electricity since 2010 has been submitted with low-carbon sources, mainly renewables.
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