My four strange but true green stories so far this year

 In Education, Green Energy, News

With the Whitsun Spring Bank holiday a few days away now is a good time to look back at four of this year’s amazing but true green stories.

Ron Fox, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science Innovation Park, (, picks his favourite environmental tales in the last four months.

  1. For an hour last month the UK’s National Grid ran virtually entirely on green power. Between 12.30pm and 1.30pm on April 15 coal and gas power plants provided a record low of only 2.4 per cent of Great Britain’s electricity supply. Instead, homes and businesses were running on wind turbines, solar panels, nuclear reactors, biomass and energy links to continental Europe. “Five years ago,” said Ron, “many people would have said this was impossible and that we would still need coal and gas. It just shows how far our country has come from polluting power plants to one run on green energy and renewable technologies.” The government wants a zero carbon National Grid by 2035 and the Labour Party promises one by 2030.
  2. Climate change has been good for the red admiral butterfly with the species having its best year in Britain in 2023. The annual UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme figures published last month showed that the number of those butterflies increased by 318 per cent at sites they have been monitoring since 1976. The migratory red admiral, Latin name Vanessa Atalanta, travels each spring and summer from north Africa and continental Europe to the UK where the females lay eggs, producing new butterflies from July onwards. “With British temperatures rising the red admiral has gone from a rarely seen butterfly to being a commonly spotted one,” added Ron.
  3. A German company has announced plans to build the world’s tallest wind turbines which will be higher than the London Shard. This vital source of renewable energy will be 365 metres high to the top of the blades. This is more than 55 metres taller than the UK capital’s skyscraper, which at 310 metres is the tallest building in Britain. “To put that in context,” said Ron, “the UK’s largest wind turbine is 200 metres tall.” The German firm, Gicon, said their data had shown the wind blew more constantly at that height and produced twice the yield of a standard turbine.
  4. Living in a green environment can be good for your bones, according to new research. Data from more than 390,000 people held in the UK biobank shows that the further a person lives from green spaces, the lower the bone density and the higher the risk of developing osteoporosis. The study by Chinese researchers from Central South University in Changsha and Huazhong University in Wuhan found that living in a leafy area and with increased exercise and reduced air pollution can boost the health of a person’s bones.

“If you want any energy advice, contact me on 01782 756995 – but in the meantime have a green and happy Whitsun holiday weekend,” said Ron.

Caption: Flying high – The Red Admiral Butterfly.

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