Record wind power output resulted in almost 30% of the UK’s electricity being generated from renewables in 2017, up from less than a quarter the previous year.
That is according to the Digest of UK Energy Statistics 2018 from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which reveals that renewable energy accounted for 29.3% of electricity generation last year.
Half of this came from wind power, which provided 14.8% of the UK’s electricity compared with 11% in 2016, with onshore sources making up 8.6% and offshore 6.2%.
“It’s great to see that the UK’s cheapest power source, onshore wind, is making such a significant contribution to the nation’s power needs,” RenewableUK executive director, Emma Pinchbeck, said.
“This is a radical shift, and we will see ever more low-cost renewables meeting flexible demand from homes, electric vehicles and new manufacturing processes and industries.”
The data also shows that a huge reduction in coal use, combined with rapid growth in renewables, saw carbon intensity of the UK’s power supply fall to record-low levels in 2017.
One kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity generated produced 225g of C02 on average last year, down from 483g in 2012.
The contribution of onshore wind grew by 39%, and offshore by 27%, which the BEIS said was due to increases in capacity, greater load factors and higher wind speeds.
This comes after the government announced earlier this week that it would be providing £557m in subsidies for the offshore wind industry.
Offshore wind and remote island wind providers will, for the first time, be able to bid for contracts in clean energy auctions held every two years starting in 2019, potentially powering up to four million homes.
Announcing the support package, energy minister, Claire Perry, said: “The UK renewables sector is thriving, with more offshore wind capacity here than anywhere else in the world, and 50% of electricity coming from low-carbon sources last year.
“For the last decade the offshore wind industry has been a great British success story, and today the sector gets the certainty it needs to build on this success through the next 10 years.”
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