World / Science & Health

Renewables overtake hydrocarbons in U.K. electricity generation: study

AFP-JIJI

Renewable sources generated more of Britain’s electricity than fossil fuels for the first time last quarter, according to analysis by specialist website “Carbon Brief” published Monday.

“In the third quarter of 2019, the UK’s windfarms, solar panels, biomass and hydro plants generated more electricity than the combined output from power stations fired by coal, oil and gas,” said the website.

“During the three months of July, August and September, renewables generated an estimated total of 29.5 terawatt hours (TWh), compared with just 29.1TWh from fossil fuels,” it added.

It is the first time that renewables have outpaced hydrocarbons since the country’s first public electricity generating station opened in 1882.

Renewables accounted for less than 10 percent of the country’s total electricity generation at the turn of the decade, according to Carbon Brief.

The amount generated by renewables has since quadrupled, but gas remains the single biggest source of electricity production, accounting for 38 percent of the total over the three months, followed by nuclear power (21 percent) and wind (20 percent).

Formerly the lungs of British industry, coal now generates less than 1 percent of the country’s electricity needs, and is expected to be totally phased out by 2025.

Britain is looking to exploit offshore wind resources as it tries to achieve its target of carbon neutrality by 2050.

The government in August authorized the extension of a project to build the world’s largest wind farm in the North Sea, 90 km (56 miles) off the coast of Yorkshire (northern England).