The amount of energy generated by renewable sources has outperformed fossil fuels for the first time, the latest figures from the UK government show.
In the third quarter of this year, the proportion of electricity generated by renewable sources hit 38.9 per cent, putting it marginally head of the electricity generated by gas, which accounted for 38.8 per cent of the country’s energy.
What’s more, the Guardian noted that offshore wind generation overtook onshore wind generation for the first time too. The proportion of electricity produced by offshore wind turbines hit 9.8 per cent of the energy mix, while onshore accounted for 9.2 per cent.
This is a big jump for offshore wind, though, which only accounted for 6.7 per cent of the country’s electricity in the same three-month period in 2018.
The newspaper also noted that, earlier in December, wind power generated nearly 45 per cent of the country’s electricity in one day, indicating that these power sources are becoming an increasingly vital part of the UK’s energy mix.
According to reNews.biz, when nuclear is added to the mix with renewables, which are collectively classed as low-carbon energy sources, they accounted for over half (57.3 per cent) of the country’s electricity in the third quarter of 2019.
Speaking to the news provider, Head of Policy and Regulation at RenewableUK, Rebecca Williams, described this as a “historic tipping point”, with renewables outperforming gas for the first time ever.
“Wind is playing the leading role in this, generating nearly 20 per cent of our electricity between July and September. We need to use a wide range of technologies to tackle dangerous climate change, including onshore wind as well as offshore, innovative floating wind and tidal power,” she asserted.
2019 has been a year of good news for the renewables industry. Back in September, a report from Bloomberg revealed that the cost of generating solar and wind energy had fallen considerably.
It revealed that, since 2010, the cost of producing wind energy had fallen by more than 50 per cent. As a result, new wind farms and solar plants now produce energy more cheaply than fossil fuels in two-thirds of the world.
This means that, on a cost basis, renewables can compete with these traditional fuel sources. This is likely to encourage more countries and businesses to adopt them for use in the coming years.
The offshore wind sector is one that’s set to grow in the coming years after the government confirmed that it has increased the target for installed offshore wind to 40GW by 2030. This is an increase of 10GW from the previous pledge.
Boris Johnson’s government has also said that it will support the development of floating wind turbines. At present, the UK has 10GW of offshore wind capacity installed, with a further 4GW in pre-construction or under construction.
There is still a way to go to meet the 40GW target, however. With a growing number of offshore wind turbines, more people will need to undergo specialist training, such as the GWO working at heights course, to help install the turbines and maintain them once they’re in place.