Renewable energy has for the first time surpassed coal in supplying the UK’s electricity for a whole quarter, according to government statistics released on Thursday. The revelation of the surge in wind, solar and bioenergy to a record 25% comes in a week when the government has been heavily criticised by business leaders and Al Gore for cutting support for clean energy.
The high performance of renewable electricity between April and June, the latest period data is available for, was due to both more wind and sun and more turbines and solar panels having been installed, compared to the same period the year before, when renewables contributed 16.4% of electricity.
Gas-fired power stations provided the most electricity – 30% – with renewables second. Nuclear power was third with 21.5% and coal – the most polluting fuel – fell back to fourth, with 20.5%. Ageing coal and nuclear plants have been closing in recent years, while renewable energy has been rapidly rolling out.