Renewables produces almost a third of UK power in Q2

An onshore wind farm.
An onshore wind farm.

Renewables such as wind and solar generated almost a third of British power in the second quarter of the year, Government figures show.

Between April and June, renewables provided a record 31.7% of electricity generation, up on the same period the previous year as more clean technology was added to the system and there was an increase in hours of sunshine.

Overall, low-carbon’s share of electricity generation fell slightly compared to the same period in 2017, to 53.4% of the mix, as a result of outages in nuclear power plants.

Coal power also fell to a record low of just 1.6% of the generation mix, while gas accounted for 42%, the figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy showed.

But a recent report for Drax Electric Insights by Dr Iain Staffell at Imperial College London showed gas prices at a 10-year-high are now prompting an increase in coal burning for power, which leads to higher carbon emissions.

And if coal-fired electricity remains cheaper than gas, it could lead to the first year on year rise in carbon emissions from Britain’s power sector in six years, the study warned.

James Court, from the Renewable Energy Association said: “The record renewable power generation is a significant achievement for the industry.

“Renewables have never been more affordable and accessible as they are now and this is reflected in the data released today.”

But he called on the Government to support the industry, warning: “Figures show that the lack of support is already having a significant impact on solar power for example which is currently the cheapest option for new power generation.”

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