More energy was produced in the UK from renewables than fossil fuels on 137 days during 2019. That makes it he UK's greenest year yet for energy production, but only just!
According to a new report by the Carbon Brief website, renewable energy from solar, wind, hydro and biomass produced more electricity than fossil fuels in March, August, September and December. There were 83 days in 2019 when the UK's energy grid was coal-free. That's up from just one day in 2017 and 21 days in 2018.
The National Grid, which manages the UK's energy networks is aiming to be able to run the system without using fossil fuels at all, at least for short periods, from 2025 onwards.
Low carbon electricity - produced from a combination of renewable and nuclear energy - made up 54% of the UK's energy mix for the first time in 2019, with 37% coming from renewables and wind energy making up 20% of the mix by itself. Meanwhile, 43% of electricity was generated by fossil fuels (41% gas, 2% coal). In 2010, 75% of our electricity was generated from fossil fuel sources. Whilst this is fantastic progress, the report warns that a series of outages from ageing nuclear plants in 2019 may be a signal of problems ahead and that we cannot afford to be complacent. The report shows that the increase in energy production from low carbon sources was just 1% in 2019.
The new Conservative government has announced a target of providing 40 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2020. But this will need to be backed by policies if it is to actually happen. There is still an urgent need to increase energy production from renewables and other low carbon sources if we are to meet the UK's rising energy demands and meet the government's stated target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.