In A First, Wind And Solar Generated More Electricity In The UK Than Coal And Gas Combined

Development of renewables, particularly offshore wind, has surged in recent years. Nuttawut Uttamaharad/Shutterstock

For the first time ever, wind, solar, and other renewables produced more energy in the UK than both coal and gas combined, covering over half of the country’s demand. The record was broken at around 1pm on Wednesday, when particularly strong winds buffeted Europe, leading to an increase in wind power.

The National Grid, which own the power network that criss-crosses Britain, released their stats for Wednesday, which showed that solar produced around 7.6 GW of power during the day, while wind farms came in at 9.5 GW. This was topped up by the burning of biomass, adding another 2 GW, while hydroelectric produced a modest amount.

This means that the renewable sector accounted for over 50 percent of the nation’s total energy demand on Wednesday afternoon, which reached 35.4 GW. This is the first time ever that green energy has supplied more of the UK’s energy than gas and coal, which produced 7.4 GW and 0 GW respectively. Along with nuclear churning out 8.2 GW, close to 78 percent of the total energy generated during this period was from low-carbon sources.

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The impressive output has come at a time when there has been a real surge towards renewables. Despite the fact that there was a drop in the amount of money invested in renewables during 2016, the capacity of green energy generation around the globe still increased. This is thought to be due to an incredible drop in the cost to manufacture and install renewables, such as solar and wind.

This has led many countries to strike new and sweeping deals in order to install more renewables. Only earlier this week, it was announced that Germany, Denmark, and Belgium will join forces to install some massive new wind farms off their coast lines. So massive is this investment, it is projected to increase the whole of the EU’s offshore wind capacity by some 500 percent. All going well, this could see offshore wind account for up to 25 percent of all energy needs in the EU by 2030.

In fact, data shows that intense winds last Tuesday allowed the current installation of offshore wind turbines to account for 2.7 percent of all energy generated within the EU, while in the UK offshore wind generated 10 percent of all energy.

With prices continuing to drop and the world’s largest turbines looking to drive them even lower, it seems that there may be a change towards greener energy generation.

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