Climate Action

UK carbon emissions fall as renewable energy soars

The UK’s electricity sector is continuing to change at an astonishing rate with fossil fuels in decline, while renewable energy tops new heights.

  • 21 February 2018
  • Websolutions

The UK’s electricity sector is continuing to change at an astonishing rate with fossil fuels in decline, while renewable energy tops new heights.

Official National Grid statistics show that carbon emissions in the power sector fell by 12 percent in 2017, while renewable energy’s output grew by 27 percent.

All renewable technologies, consisting of biomass, hydro, solar and wind, now provide 25 percent of all Britain’s electricity. This would be sufficient to power the entire country 60 years ago.

Imperial College London, which helped compile the report with Drax Power, estimates the carbon savings are the equivalent of removing one in seven cars from the road.

Dr Iain Staffell, from Imperial College London, said that: “The share of fossil fuels on the system has fallen from 80 percent to 50 percent since 2010 and the effect that shift in the balance of power is having in terms of lowering our carbon emissions is striking”.

An increase in wind energy capacity and a decline in coal-fired power plants are largely responsible for the reversal in fortunes. Wind farms produced 45 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2017, a record 15 percent of Britain’s electricity, and more than twice the output from coal. This was helped by new giant offshore wind farms coming online off Britain’s coasts and onshore wind having a record year for deployment.

Andy Koss, Drax Power’s CEO said: “This report shows the great progress we have made in terms of decarbonising the energy sector. We can expect more days without coal on the system as we gear up to the UK coming off coal in 2025 and we are proud of the work that we have done to support this as the largest decarbonisation project in Europe”.

Luke Clark, Head of External Affairs at the trade body RenewableUK, also commented on the good news: “These figures underline that renewables are central to our changing power system…Alongside breaking multiple records for peak output, wind energy continued to cut costs”

 

Source: Drax Power/Imperial College London