The United Kingdom recognised the need for shifting to renewable energy sources for electricity generation way back in the mid-1990s. This was way before hue and cry in the world about global warming issue.
In the year 2013, the renewable electricity sources accounted for 14.9% of the total electricity generation in the United Kingdom. Where in the recent data released by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) shows the renewables generated more than a 25% of the UK’s electricity in the first quarter of the year 2017 – 26.6% to be precise. And is a new record, in the history of the country’s power generation.
Total UK renewable energy output was 24.8 terawatt hours (TWh) during this period. Onshore wind power generation is the largest contributor, at 7.7 TWh with an impressive rise of 20% as compared to the previous year. Offshore wind turbines generation was reduced by 2% mainly due to climatic conditions and it also affected the hydropower which declined by 15%. But the Solar power generation saw a rise of 16% reaching 1.7 TWh during the first quarter of the year 2017. Onshore wind power generation rise was mainly due to increased capacity and investments in the sector.
The National Grid control room data clearly showed that the renewable energy and nuclear power generation put together exceeded the power generation by gas and coal plants combined. On 30th June, the record 19.3GW output by renewable energy was enough to supply more than 50% of midday power demand of the country.
The National Grid control room added that this is the first time that renewable energy and nuclear power have together produced more power than gas and coal plants combined.
Nuclear power contributed 23.2% of the power mix on the day while gas-fired power plants were at 20.8% balance was contributed by the renewable sources.
Also, this surge in renewable power generation caused the market energy prices to fall into negative territory on a particular day in the early hours. This prompted National Grid to make payments to major energy consumers to consume more power so that the grid wasn’t burdened with excess supply.