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Thursday, January 04, 2018

Low-carbon electricity outstripped fossil fuels in 2017

Last year was a record-breaker for clean electricity in the UK, with  new analysis from Carbon Brief revealing more power came from low-carbon sources than all fossil fuels combined for the first time since the industrial revolution.

Between 2009 and 2017 the share of nuclear and renewable power doubled to just over 50 per cent, while fossil fuels including gas and coal supplied 47.5 per cent of generation in 2017, down from 75.4 per cent in 2010.

The analysis, which is based on data compiled by Imperial College London, underscores the rapid shift underway in Britain's power system, from reliance on fossil fuels to the growing dominance of cleaner generating sources.


Just five years ago, coal produced 39 per cent of the UK's electricity. In contrast, wind power generated more than twice as much electricity as coal last year.

The study is the latest in a string of green accolades for the UK power system, with WWF pointing out that 13 clean energy records were smashed in 2017 alone, including the first full day since the industrial revolution with no coal power, record spikes in solar and offshore wind generation, and record low prices for offshore wind.

However, Carbon Brief's Policy Editor Simon Evans pointed out that although the UK has delivered impressive emissions reductions from its power sector, the nation is still not on track to meet its legally binding carbon targets because similarly stringent action is lacking in other areas of the economy.

"Eighty per cent of UK emissions reduction in the past five years has come from burning less coal," he said. "That puts into perspective how little progress has been made in other parts of the economy."

Read more at BusinessGreen