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More than half of UK’s electricity from green sources this summer, according to National Grid

26 September 2017

Between 21 June to 22 September, 52% of electricity generation was met by low carbon sources, compared with about 35% four years ago. Growth in solar, offshore and onshore wind has contributed significantly to the increased share of generation from renewable sources. June 7 also became the first day when over half of the UK’s energy came from renewables.

Stock image
Stock image

“It’s been an exciting year managing the many ‘network firsts’ – from a day where we operated the system with zero coal power, to one where over half of Great Britain’s energy demand was met by renewable generation,” said Duncan Burt, director of the System Operator at National Grid.

At the same time, the National Grid has launched software that forecasts electricity demand up to two days ahead. It says shifting the timing of activities such as running a dishwasher or charging electric vehicles could help relieve pressure on the energy system, reduce the need to use back-up fossil fuel plants, and potentially reduce bills for households.

ScottishPower Renewables also announced that it has now installed over 2,000MW of wind power across the UK, with eight new onshore wind farms coming online as part of a recent £650m investment programme.

 “It’s now cheaper, easier and faster to build onshore wind,” said Keith Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower Renewables. “In a little over 18 months we have built over 470MW of onshore wind, delivering enough power for more than 280,000 homes and with it significant environmental and financial benefits for the UK.”

“We have seen competitive auctions deliver huge price reductions in offshore wind, and we expect onshore prices to tumble as well.”

“If the industry was given a level playing field with other technologies a further 2,000MW could be built in Scotland by 2020. These projects will complement offshore and ensure that the UK has enough green electricity to power a clean energy future.”

Meanwhile, on September 26 climate minister Claire Perry cut the ribbon on the UK’s first subsidy-free solar installation. Anesco’s Clayhill solar farm and energy storage facility, located near Flitwick in Bedfordshire. This will provide 10MW of generation capacity, alongside 6MWh of battery storage. According to Anesco, construction and installation of the project was completed in 12 weeks.

 “For the solar industry, Clayhill is a landmark development and paves the way for a sustainable future, where subsidies are no longer needed or relied upon,” said Anesco’s executive chairman Steve Shine. “Importantly, it proves that the government’s decision to withdraw subsidies doesn’t have to signal the end of solar as a commercially viable technology.”

Falling costs have seen solar power capacity soar in Britain to around 12 gigawatts (GW), from around 2 GW five years ago, and on one sunny day in May this year solar hit a record, providing almost 25% of the country’s electricity.

Britain has a target to meet 15% its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020, up from 8% in 2015.

The country’s renewable subsidy auction for offshore wind hit a record low earlier this month, falling well below the cost of subsidies promised to French utility EDF to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant.


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