UK enjoys ‘greenest year ever’ with 13 clean energy records broken in 2017
Britain achieved 13 separate renewable energy records in 2017, with last year set to be the greenest ever for power production, according to analysis by WWF.
Some of the highlights included the first full day since the Industrial Revolution where there was no coal power, plummeting costs of offshore wind, and a record-breaking level of green energy.
These achievements have left the UK with the fourth cleanest power system in Europe and the seventh greenest in the world, with Britain managing to halve its carbon emissions in the electricity sector since 2012.
“2017 has been an amazing year for renewable electricity in Britain – we have never been cleaner or greener,” WWF head of energy and climate change, Gareth Redmond-King, said.
“Climate change is wreaking havoc on our nature and wildlife, but we are at last facing up to the challenge, turning our backs on polluting fossil fuels, and embracing a new clean future.”
The WWF predicts that this year will be even greener than the last, and usher in a “new era of low-carbon electricity”, but warns that this opportunity must be backed by government action.
The NGO said the UK is behind schedule to meet the fourth and fifth Carbon Budget, and that there are no clear plans on how the country is going to make up for this shortfall.
It argues that greater encouragement needs to be given to decarbonise heating systems and ensure buildings use less power, while more also needs to be done to accelerate renewable energy uptake.
In addition, the organisation said that greater ambition is needed to support electric vehicles by ending the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 in order to cut carbon emissions, reduce air pollution and boost the economy.
“We are on course for an even better year in 2018, but we need to show more ambition by bringing forward the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars,” Redmond-King added.
The 13 records broken last year, which have been verified by the National Grid, include:
• First 24-hour period with coal generation since the Industrial Revolution - 21 April
• Longest period without coal generation (40 hours and 35 minutes) – 28-29 October
• Greenest summer ever, with almost 52% of electricity generation from low-carbon sources – 21 June to 22 September
• Lowest amount of carbon produced by electricity production at any one moment (73 gCo2/kWh) – 2 October
• Largest amount of electricity produced from renewable sources at any one moment (19.2 GW) –21 March
• First time ever wind, nuclear and solar were all generating more than both gas and coal combined – 7 June
• Most electricity production from solar power at any one moment (8.9 GW), a quarter of Britain’s electricity supply – 26 May
• Highest percentage of solar produced relative to national demand (26.8%) – 2 July
• Most wind power produced in a day (285GWh)– 7 December
• Most offshore wind generation at any one moment (4.3 GW) – 1 October
• Most electricity production from all wind generation at any one moment (12.4 GW) – 6 December
• Most electricity production from hydropower at any one moment (4 GW) – 27 February
• Record-low price at the second Contracts for Difference subsidy auction of £57.50/MWh for offshore wind, well below the government’s guarantee for Hinkley C – 11 September.