The amount of electricity obtained from low carbon sources reached a milestoneÂ in 2016 according to an analysis by Drax Power and Imperial College London.
According to their study, more than half of Britain’s electricity was generated from low carbon sources between July and September this year, marking what they call an ‘unprecedented’ rise of 20 per cent since 2010.
The researchers report that the contribution from nuclear, wind, solar, hydro and biomass has doubled over the past 6 years.
Coal power, on the other hand, accounted for just 3% of Britain’s electricity this summer, down from around 38% only four years ago.
The report notes that ‘for almost six full days [in the] last quarter, the UK was coal free – the first instance Britain burnt no coal to produce electricity since 1881.’
Andy Kross, chief executive at Drax Power, said there was more to do to make the UK truly low carbon: “Additional reliable, affordable, clean energy is needed on the system, along with a focus on getting the balance right. More intermittent renewables like wind and solar are crucial, but they will require flexible back-up, like biomass, to provide homes and businesses with electricity on demand.”
This summer’s high renewables and low coal achievement arguably resulted from a combination of relatively low daytime demand coupled with weather conditions that favoured solar generation, neither of which can be guaranteed for long periods.
In other low carbon energy news
The backers behind the Swansea Tidal Lagoon project say they’re worriedÂ (Â£) that in deciding the fate of the privately financed Â£1.3 billion project, Government will focus on the initial price without considering that it is likely to halve as the technology becomes more widely adopted.
It is understood that the Swansea Tidal Lagoon is seeking to agree a strike price of more than Â£120 per MWh (megawatt hour) which is higher than the Â£92.50 per MWh that the Government agreed to in order to support the building of the Hinkley Point nuclear plant.
Meanwhile, in Lancashire, a new gas-powered electricity generating plant has secured planning permission and will be built on the former ICI Hillhouse site at Thornton Cleveleys. The plant is intended to provide back-up power in periods of peak demand, helping to smooth the impacts of unpredictable and varied renewable generation from sources such as wind and solar.