Record renewable energy figures given a warm welcome
Renewable energy reached a record high in 2018 while electricity from fossil fuels fell to its lowest level for 24 years, new research has revealed.
“This is excellent news and perhaps the green message is at last getting through to the Government, business and consumers,” said expert Ron Fox, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science Innovation Park.
He was commenting on an analysis released recently by Carbon Brief, a climate and energy policy website which showed that low-carbon power sources accounted for nearly a third of all energy (32 per cent) generated last year, up from 29 per cent the year before.
Wind accounted for 17 per cent of the total, solar four per cent, burning plant or biomass 11 per cent.
More good news was that coal, the most polluting fossil fuel, declined further by a quarter from 2017 to a record low of five per cent. Gas was also down to 39 per cent as fossil fuels fell to their lowest ever share of the total.
Generation of electricity was also at its lowest level since 1994 and is 16 per cent down of its peak in 2005, added Carbon Brief, which draws on UK government data.
To put those figures in context if the amount of power generated per person had stayed at those levels of 14 years ago Britain would have needed the equivalent of four extra Hinckley Point C nuclear power plants.
These figures have dropped because of a combination of factors, including more energy efficient appliances and lighting for both industrial and residential customers, a shift away from energy intensive industry towards high-value manufacturing and services, plus milder weather and slightly higher electricity imports. The windy and warm summer helped generate more green energy.
“The good news is that the UK has slashed its carbon emissions by more than 43 per cent since 1990,” said Ron. “But the sobering news is that the country is still not on track to meet legally binding emission targets, and so more needs to be done by everyone.”
While the UK has reduced its emissions from electricity, there has not been enough progress in cutting heating and transport emissions, warned the Committee on Climate Change, the independent panel that advises the government.
Ron said one way residents could cut their carbon footprint and their energy bills is by installing solar panels.
He said the sunlight is free, so there’s no more nasty surprises from utility firms putting up their prices.
Also the panels are an environmentally-friendly way to provide electricity, central heating and hot water.
“Finally,” said Ron, “there are attractive Government incentives to encourage householders to install the panels. But that is only until the end of March when the scheme will be closed.
“Although we don’t know yet whether that scheme will be replaced it will still be worthwhile for residents as the cost of solar panels have dropped considerably recently.”
For more information on solar panels contact Ron on 0845 474 6641.