UK quarterly renewable energy generation hits new record
In the first quarter of 2017, renewables generated more than a quarter of the UK’s electricity, a new record, according to the latest data from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The data – which was released on Friday 30 June – revealed that between January and March 2017, renewables powered 26.6 per cent of the UK's electricity needs.
The combined UK renewable energy output stood at 24.8 terawatt hours (TWh) for the quarter, 5 per cent higher than the 23.6 TWh recorded in the same period last year.
Onshore wind was the largest contributor, providing 7.7TWh – an impressive increase of 20 per cent compared to 2016 – thanks to increased capacity.
Offshore wind, however, fell by two per cent largely due to lower wind speeds, while hydro power declined by 15 per cent due to low rainfall levels.
Solar generation, on the other hand, increased 16 per cent on last year’s figure, reaching 1.7 TWh for the quarter.
At the same time, coal power production decreased from 15.8 per cent last year to 11.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2017.
Emma Pinchbeck, Executive Director of RenewableUK, said in a statement: "Renewable energy is a mainstream technology, which is cheaper and more advanced than ever.
"Our innovative industries have matured to the point where we now reliably provide over 25 per cent of the UK with clean, sustainable power," she added.
In Scotland, renewable energy generation increased by 13 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2016, with capacity increasing 16 per cent.
Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish government's Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, said in a statement: "Scotland's total installed renewable capacity - that's the amount of renewable electricity we are capable of producing - now stands at 9.3GW - four times what it was only a decade ago.”
He went on to say: "These statistics reinforce our country's reputation as a renewable energy powerhouse and are a vindication of the Scottish government's energy policy."
The news follows the announcement that on 11 of the 31 days in May, wind generated enough power to supply 100 per cent or more of homes in Scotland.
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