For the first time in the UK’s history, renewable energy has contributed to a record 25-percent of the total electricity generation, thus overtaking coal to take the second place behind gas-fired power production. According to the Energy Statistics, published on September 24 by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the report pertains to the second quarter of 2015 (from April 1 to June 30), a period which saw an unprecedented increase in wind turbines and solar panels as well as remarkably favorable weather conditions, including longer sunshine hours and higher wind speeds.
While the nation’s total energy production has undergone a nearly 10.8-percent increase in comparison to Q2 2014, renewable energy generation has risen by an impressive 51.4-percent from the same period, last year. Of this, the amount of harvested solar energy has increased by a staggering 115-percent, from the earlier 1.5 TWh to around 3.2 TWh. Thanks to higher wind speeds and the installation of a number of offshore units, wind generation has also become 65.2-percent higher than what was recorded last year. Furthermore, this quarter has witnessed a 26.2-percent increase in bioenergy-based electricity production, primarily due to the switch of one unit at the North Yorkshire-based Drax power station from coal to biomass.
By comparison, coal has produced only about 20.5-percent of the UK’s electricity, in Q2 2015. Nuclear power is currently the third most abundant energy source, generating up to 21.5-percent of the nation’s total electricity. As has already been predicted, by scientists across the world, the fossil fuel industry is set for a gradual, but irriversible, decline, with some like Goldman Sachs going so far as to say that the “peak coal” period was two years ago, in 2013. When it comes to the United States, however, some researchers believe that, by 2050, 80-percent of the country’s electricity will be generated from renewable energy resources.
Source: UK Energy Statistics, Q2 2015