Climate Action

The UK now gets 30% of its electricity from renewables

Official UK Government data has shown that almost 30 percent of electricity is now coming from clean and renewable sources.

  • 26 July 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

Official UK Government data has shown that almost 30 percent of electricity is now coming from clean and renewable sources.

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy released the figures today, which cover the whole of 2017.

They show that renewables have dramatically increased their share of the energy mix within the past five years. In 2012, 11.3 percent of power came from renewable sources; as of last year this has increased to 29.3 per cent last year.

Wind power continues to dominant the renewable mix, now providing 14.8 percent of all power. This is up from 11 percent in 2016 and reflects the strong growth in offshore wind and a rush to build onshore wind farms before subsidies were cut off. Solar power provided 3.4 percent.

Meanwhile, coal continued its decline and now only represents 6.7 percent of power across the country; this is down from 39 per cent in 2012 as old coal plants are being shut down and the transition to clean energy has ramped up.

The official figures confirm preliminary data in January which showed that 13 separate energy records had been beaten in 2017 by the growth in clean energy.

The record-levels of renewable power continued into the first quarter of this year, which also hit 30 percent thanks to new capacity coming online and favourable wind speeds.

Emma Pinchbeck from trade body RenewableUK, commented: “Today’s record figures demonstrate how fast renewable energy is transforming the way we generate power to create an energy system fit for the future. 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.”

However, the strong progress in the electricity sector has not been matched across the more carbon intensive heating and transport sectors. The Committee on Climate Change recently warned that the UK is at risk of missing its carbon targets if rapid progress in these areas isn’t made.