A couple of days after the famous Ferrybridge power station cooling towers were razed to the ground, it was announced that, in the third quarter of 2019, for the first time history renewable energy generated more electricity than fossil fuel power stations in the United Kingdom.
The U.K’s wind farms, solar panels, biomass and hydro plants outstripped coal, oil and gas during the months of July, August and September, producing 29.5 terawatts (TWh), compared with just 29.1TWh, according to Carbon Brief.
The new milestone confirms predictions made by the National Grid that 2019 will be the first year since the industrial revolution that zero-carbon electricity – renewables and nuclear – overtakes gas and coal-fired power. New offshore wind farms have helped to take renewables past fossil fuels in a crucial tipping point in Britain’s Energy transition.
Less than 10 years ago fossil fuels made up four-fifths of the country’s electricity, which was split between gas and coal. However, the recent analysis undertaken by Carbon Brief shows that coal-fired power made up less than 1% of all electricity generated. This has resulted in British coal plants, such as Ferrybridge, which has dominated the Yorkshire skyline for around half a century, shutting down ahead of the 2025 ban. By next spring just four coal plants will remain in the UK.
Nuclear made up less than a fifth of the UK’s electricity in the last quarter, while wind power is the UK’s strongest source of renewable energy. The opening of wind farm schemes almost doubled the 2,100MW worth of offshore capacity which began powering homes in 2018.
Luke Clark of Renewable UK, stated the industry hopes to treble the size of its offshore wind sector by 2030 to generate more than a third of the UK’s electricity.
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