The use of renewables for power, transport and heating accounted for almost 9% of UK energy consumption in 2016, official figures show.
A quarter of electricity (24.6%) came from clean technology such as wind power last year, renewables such as heat pumps and wood burning made up 6.2% of total heating consumption, and 4.5% of transport energy came from biofuels.
Overall, energy coming from renewables amounted to 8.9% of the total in 2016, exceeding goals for the year, according to the data which tracks the UK’s progress towards 2020 EU targets to source 15% of energy from renewables.
Statistics on energy for the first three months of this year also reveal rises in renewable electricity generation, up to 26.6% in January to March, compared with 25.6% for the same period in 2016, mostly due to more wind and solar added to the grid.
Coal’s inexorable slide continued, with its share of generation down from 15.9% in first three months of 2016 to 11.3% in the first quarter of 2017.
With wind and solar generating some 15.5% of UK electricity, they overtook coal in the main winter period for the very first time.
It is a far cry from two decades ago when coal accounted for 35.9% of power for the first quarter of 1998, while wind and solar only generated 0.2% of electricity.
The Government has announced plans to phase out polluting coal fired power plants by 2025.
With nuclear accounting for just under 19% of electricity generation, low-carbon electricity’s share of the total rose slightly to 45.6% in January to March 2017.
Gas power also increased, from 37% to almost 40% of the total.