Between April and June this year, the share of renewables hit a record 31.7%, driven by a new record for solar generation, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy stated in its UK Energy Statistics for Q2 2018.
In recent years, the share of renewables in electricity generation has been rising, while fossil fuel-powered generation has been dropping. Coal plunged to a new record low in Q2 this year – just 1.6%, according to the department.
So far this year as of September 27, Britain has spent 1,599 hours without coal-powered electricity, up from 233 hours without coal in 2016, and 624 hours without coal in 2017 – according to MyGridGB tracker. Government figured showed today that of the electricity generated in the UK in the second quarter of 2018, gas accounted for 42.0% and nuclear generation accounted for 21.7% of total electricity generation.
Renewable electricity generation increased by 3% year on year to stand at 24.3 TWh in the second quarter. Renewable electricity capacity in the UK was 42.2 GW at end-June 2018, up by 10%, or by 3.9 GW, compared to end-June last year, with more than 50% of the annual capacity increase coming from offshore wind.
This summer, the National Infrastructure Commission—an independent advisory group set up in 2015 to give recommendations to the UK government—stated that the UK should back renewable and only support one more nuclear plant after Hinkley Point C before 2025, because renewable energy is the safest bet for a low-cost energy system for Britain in the longer term.
James Court, Policy Director at the UK’s Renewable Energy Association, hailed the record as “a significant achievement for the industry. Renewables have never been more affordable and accessible as they are now and this is reflected in the data released today.”
“However, for renewables to continue to become more affordable and for the UK to grow its green jobs base, the government must continue to support the industry. Figures show that the lack of support is already having a significant impact on solar power for example which is currently the cheapest option for new power generation.” He added further.
He concluded by saying that the UK government “must introduce alternative support and unlock a route to market if the UK is to benefit from cheaper, greener and smarter energy”