Wind energy has contributed the most to the rising share of renewables in the UK's energy mix

Renewable energy levels hit record high

Almost a fifth of the UK's electricity was generated by renewables in the first three months of this year, official figures show.

Compared with the 2013 figures, the renewable energy production, including wind, solar, biomass, wave and tidal energy, rose by seven percentage points, making up 19.4 per cent of the UK’s overall electricity generation in the first three months of 2014.

According to the report published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc), low carbon energy resources, including nuclear power, have produced more than 37 per cent of the UK’s electricity mix in the period between January and March 2014.

Increases in the number of offshore and onshore wind turbines, along with high winds, boosted wind power, while a doubling of average rainfall on the previous year in areas that have hydropower saw electricity from the technology hit record levels.

Coal, gas and nuclear power generation all fell compared to the same period in 2013.

The figures also showed that 5.2 per cent of all the UK's energy, including heating and transport, came from renewables in 2013, an increase from 4.2 per cent in 2012.

"Once again, wind delivered strongly for the UK in the first quarter of the year - when we need power most - providing nearly 12 per cent of all our electricity,” said Jennifer Webber, director of external affairs at industry body RenewableUK's.

"Offshore wind also made a significant contribution to getting us off the hook of fossil fuels and reducing our dependence on imported energy."

The UK has a legally binding target to source 15 per cent of all its energy from renewables by 2020, as part of the European Union's drive to generate 20 per cent of energy from renewables by the end of this decade.

"Without the strong performance of wind last year, the Government would have been even further behind its energy targets,” Webber said.

The latest official figures also prompted calls for national targets for European countries for generating energy from renewables for 2030, which the UK Government has argued against.

Making the call ahead of an EU summit at which leaders are expected to discuss the 2030 energy and climate package, Renewable Energy Association chief executive Nina Skorupska said: "Renewables and energy efficiency are the best no-regrets options for both reducing exposure to international energy market shocks and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"They should be at the heart of the EU strategies to address both energy security and climate change.

"The most cost-effective way to do this that gives investors most certainty is with nationally binding 2030 targets."

She welcomed the increase in energy from renewables in 2013, saying: "Every percentage point increase in home-grown renewable energy makes us that much more energy secure.

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