The UK Just Produced Over Half Its Electricity Without Burning Anything

By Ian Morris on at

Some people don't like renewable energy, but those people all own oil wells or mines of some sort. For the rest of us an increasing amount of energy from sources like wind and solar is nothing but good news. After all, who doesn't want to tap into the unlimited amount of solar, wind and wave power we can access?

Well, for the first time the UK has generated over half of its total electricity from renewable sources. Solar and wind power made up 50.7% of energy at 2pm this past Wednesday. Factor in nuclear, which isn't renewable but is low-carbon, and the power generation was 72.1% from reduced pollution sources.

Even on days when we are burning fossil fuels our coal-fired stations are barely being used, a quick look at the power grid now tells us that we're currently producing less than 1% of our total energy from this source. Combined cycle gas is currently accounting for 33.3%. This is better than open cycle gas turbines because the heat produced from burning the gas is used to generate more power - it's two turbines basically.

Of course it's easy to joke that there's no sun in England. And while we're not as lucky as some countries you can generate a decent amount of power from solar panels, even on a day like today where it's cloudy. This is gigawatts of power that we're able to create without burning things and making the planet hotter. And even if you think Trump's science-free attitude to climate change is right, who on earth doesn't want cheaper fuel?

And north of the border, Scotland has generated so much wind recently that it provided 863,495 MWh to the grid during May, and could have met its own energy needs for 11 days in that month. This is also good news because Scotland's wind farms greatly annoy America's first orange president. [BBC News]


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