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Renewables topped fossil fuel generation in U.K. grid for first time in 2020

January 28, 2021

The Guardian:

The UK’s renewable electricity outpaced its fossil fuel generation for the first time in 2020 and could remain the largest source of electricity in the future, according to an independent climate thinktank.

The thinktank behind the report, Ember, revealed that renewable energy generated by wind, sunlight, water and wood made up 42% of the UK’s electricity last year compared with 41% generated from gas and coal plants together.

Although renewable energy has overtaken fossil fuels during the summer months before, 2020 was the first time that renewables were the main source of the UK’s electricity over a year.

Renewable energy also outperformed fossil fuels across the EU for the first time, according to the report, following a collapse in the use of coal last year.

Ember said the UK’s growing stable of wind farms was one of the main reasons for the country’s renewable record. Almost a quarter of the UK’s electricity was generated by wind turbines last year, double the share of wind power in 2015 and up from a fifth of the UK’s electricity in 2019.

By contrast, electricity from gas-fired power plants fell to a five-year low of 37% of the UK’s electricity, while coal power plants made up just 2% of the electricity mix. The report found that solar and hydro power generated 4% and 2% of the UK’s electricity respectively last year, which was unchanged compared with the year before.

[Jillian Ambrose]

More: U.K. electricity from renewables outpaces gas and coal power

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