The UK has reached a crucial milestone in the race for net zero having surpassed one trillion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity generated from renewables.
This is according to National Grid analytics who revealed this milestone took 50 years to reach. Based on current projections however, it will take just over five years to reach the next trillionth kWh, the organisation said.
The achievement comes at a time when the UK renewable sector is beginning to blossom with wind generation having surpassed gas to contribute the highest percentage of electricity in the first three months of 2023.
Drax Electric Insights, the research arm of the power generation business Drax Group, stated that almost a third (32.4%) of Britain’s electricity was generated from wind power outpacing gas, which delivered 31.7%, for the first time in the country’s history.
In Q1 2023, wind delivered 24TWh, gas provided 23.4TWh, imports made up 9.2TWh (12.6%) closely followed by nuclear which provided 9.2TWh (12.5). Rounding off the electricity fuel mix is biomass, solar, hydro and coal which accounted for 5.7%, 2.3%, 1.5% and 1.3% respectively.
With this having been reported by Current± just last week, it is a testament to the energy sector that it has now achieved this second key milestone in quick succession.
It is also key to highlight how far the UK has come from since records began in 1970. According to National Grid, renewables represented just 1.9% of the total generation in 1970 with hydro having been the main source of renewable energy totalling 4.5TWh.
But offshore and onshore wind in addition to solar – some of the key technologies enabling the UK to transition to low carbon – did not enter the generation mix until 2010, National Grid said. It added this was in line with the emergence of key pieces of legislation including the Energy Review in 2006 and the renewable energy directive in 2009.
Ben Wilson, interim president for National Grid Ventures, said: “This major milestone re-affirms the UK’s position as world leaders in renewable energy and highlights the vital role renewables play in our transition to a cleaner energy future.
“Accelerating the delivery of renewable energy must continue to be a priority for a cleaner, more secure and more affordable energy future for everyone, but it requires the right framework to make it happen. We are committed to working with government and our partners to make it a reality.”