UK electricity powered mainly by zero-carbon energy for the first time

by Tim Deakin Domestic Energy News

UK electricity powered mainly by zero-carbon energy for the first time

This marks a tipping point for the country as green energy takes the lead!

Everyone from David Attenborough to the director of a small business now understands that there is no more important challenge facing society than shouldering our responsibility towards the environment. In our daily lives we all quite rightly feel that extra pressure to be a little greener. Well now it seems that the UK as a whole deserves a pat on the back – albeit a cautious one.

In just ten short years, the contribution made to the UK’s energy industry by green energy sources has more than doubled.

Because of this, the National Grid says 2019 marks the first time since the industrial revolution that more UK electricity is coming from zero-carbon sources than from any fossil fuel.

UK energy is keeping it clean & green

Green power sources like wind, solar, nuclear and hydropower are well on their way to outstripping supply from gas and coal. In recent years, a number of older power stations have closed, while the renewable energy industry has expanded massively.

As such, green energy sources have more than doubled their contribution to the British energy industry. Back in 2009, green sources made up 22.3 per cent of the UK energy mix. Now, in 2019, this number has jumped to 47.9 per cent.

According to the National Grid, this marks a “tipping point” on renewable energy for the country.

“Incredible progress” for the UK

Chief executive of the National Grid, John Pettigrew, expressed the firm’s excitement for these new results. He described it as a “key milestone” on the UK’s journey towards the net zero emissions target set out by the government earlier this summer.

Pettigrew continues: “The incredible progress Britain has made in the past 10 years means we can now say 2019 will be the year zero-carbon power beats fossil fuel-fired generation for the first time.

“As the UK decarbonises and we’ve more intermittent wind, the opportunity — when we’ve got too much — to export to Europe means renewable sources will be better used and that’s beneficial to consumers in terms of cost.”

The British energy landscape has changed drastically in years

Not only has the use of green energy sources skyrocketed in the last decade, but the use of coal and gas energy has dropped greatly.

In fact, there are only seven coal-fired power stations left in the UK. By 2025, they are all set to be closed.

The use of coal as an energy source has been in a serious downward spiral for several decades now, but in the last 10 years this decline has quickened considerably. Coal now supplies just 2.5 per cent of the country’s electricity, compared to 30.4 per cent in 2009.

And while this has been happening, the cost of using renewable energy has tumbled. Nowadays, options like onshore wind and solar power are often cheaper than fossil fuels. For example, back in 2009, onshore and offshore wind accounted for just 11.3 per cent of electricity generation in the UK. Now this has risen to almost a fifth (18.8 per cent).

Prepping for a great green future

In May, the UK logged its first completely coal-free fortnight and generated record levels of solar power for two consecutive days, powering more than a quarter of the entire country’s daily electricity consumption.

This bodes well for the future of UK energy, which is a view shared by the National Grid.

The Grid says that continuing to create innovative approaches to energy will help cut carbon emissions in the future. By 2030, Britain is set to have six interconnectors linking energy transmission between other countries. And 90 per cent of the power they import will be zero-carbon, compared to 63 per cent today.

These connections will help British homeowners use electricity generated overseas. They are also forecast to help cut carbon emissions from the electricity sector by a further 17 per cent by 2030.

Let’s not get carried away

While there’s plenty to be positive about when we look at how green energy sources have been adopted in mains power, we shouldn’t, of course, be too hasty to rest on our laurels and believe that the job is done. After all, the consumption of fossil fuels is still far too high and progress must be accelerated rather than maintained.

Looking for a green energy tariff? We’ve got a selection for you to choose from here at The Energy Check. Click here or give us a call on 0800 031 48 00.

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