Renewable energy contribution hits record level

A record 22.3 per cent of electricity was generated by renewables such as wind, biomass and solar in the first three months of the year, figures have shown.

The total amount of electricity generated by renewables increased by 15 per cent for the first three months of the year compared to the same period last year, with biomass and power plants almost doubling their output, the Department of Energy and Climate Change said.

Electricity from solar panels was up 60 per cent on the first quarter last year, due to more installations, while wind generation increased by 5.3 per cent, with more turbines installed, particularly offshore – offsetting slightly lower wind speeds than in January to March 2014.

Juliet Davenport, chief executive of renewable electricity supplier Good Energy, said: “Yet again renewables are really proving their worth and it's fantastic to see that nearly a quarter of our electricity was generated by renewable sources at the start of 2015.

“Renewables have shown incredible growth in the last few years and are leading the way when it comes to making the UK more energy secure in the future."

Overall, low-carbon power accounted for more than two-fifths of total UK electricity generation in the first three months of 2015, with nuclear up from 17.6 per cent of the mix in the beginning of 2014 to 19 per cent this year.

Coal-fired power generation fell from 37 per cent in January to March 2014 to less than a third (31.3 per cent) for the first three months of this year, while gas was up from 23.2 per cent to 25 per cent in 2015.

The news of the rise in renewables comes days after the Government announced it was ending early subsidies for new onshore wind farms, as E&T reported.

“This just proves how short-sighted the Government's plans to end onshore wind subsides a year earlier than planned really are,” Davenport said.

“A future powered solely by renewables is possible but only if solid, stable governmental support for renewable energy is in place.”

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