Renewables provide more than half UK electricity for first time


Solar panels at Worthy Farm, SomersetImage copyright
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Renewable sources of energy have generated more electricity than coal and gas in the UK for the first time.

National Grid reported that, on Wednesday lunchtime, power from wind, solar, hydro and wood pellet burning supplied 50.7% of UK energy.

Add in nuclear, and by 2pm low carbon sources were producing 72.1% of electricity in the UK.

Wednesday lunchtime was perfect for renewables – sunny and windy at the same time.

Records for wind power are being set across Northern Europe.

The National Grid, the body that owns and manages the power supply around the UK, said in a tweet: “For the first time ever this lunchtime wind, nuclear and solar were all generating more than both gas and coal combined.”

On Tuesday, a tenth of the UK’s power was coming from offshore wind farms – a newcomer on the energy scene whose costs have plummeted far faster than expected.

So much power was being generated by wind turbines, in fact, that prices fell to a tenth of their normal level.

Environmentalists will salute this new record as a milestone towards the low carbon economy.

Critics of renewable energy sources will point to the disruption renewables cause to the established energy system.

At the time of Wednesday’s record, 1% of demand was met by storage; this will have to increase hugely as the UK moves towards a low-carbon electricity system.

Follow Roger on Twitter: @rharrabin

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