UK reaches one trillion kilowatt hours generated from renewables
National Grid analytics has announced that the UK has achieved a significant milestone on its path to net zero by surpassing one trillion kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable electricity generation. This achievement took 50 years to accomplish, but based on current projections, the next trillion kWh milestone is expected to be reached in just over five years.
This accomplishment coincides with the growth of the UK renewable sector, as wind generation has now become the leading contributor to the country’s electricity, surpassing gas during the first quarter of 2023.
Where did the energy come from?
According to Drax Electric Insights, the research division of Drax Group, wind power has surpassed gas for the first time in British history, accounting for nearly a third (32.4%) of the country’s electricity generation, while gas contributed 31.7%.
In the first quarter of 2023, wind power delivered 24TWh, slightly edging out gas which provided 23.4TWh. Additionally, imports accounted for 12.6% (9.2TWh), followed closely by nuclear energy at 12.5% (9.2TWh). The remaining electricity fuel mix consisted of biomass (5.7%), solar (2.3%), hydro (1.5%), and coal (1.3%).
Rapid growth in renewable energy
It is also key to highlight how far the UK has come since records began in 1970. According to National Grid, renewables represented just 1.9% of the total generation in 1970 with hydro having been the main source of renewable energy totalling 4.5TWh.
However, it wasn’t until 2010 that offshore and onshore wind, along with solar power, became part of the generation mix. These technologies played a crucial role in facilitating the UK’s transition to a low-carbon future. National Grid attributes this development to significant legislative milestones such as the Energy Review in 2006 and the Renewable Energy Directive in 2009.
Ben Wilson, interim president for National Grid Ventures, said: “This major milestone re-affirms the UK’s position as world leaders in renewable energy and highlights the vital role renewables play in our transition to a cleaner energy future.
“Accelerating the delivery of renewable energy must continue to be a priority for a cleaner, more secure and more affordable energy future for everyone, but it requires the right framework to make it happen. We are committed to working with the government and our partners to make it a reality.”