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UK Renewable Energy Use Grows

Posted: 10/07/2017

The amount of clean energy used to provide power to homes and businesses in the UK hit record levels in the first quarter of this year, new figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) show.

According to the department’s quarterly bulletin, 26.6 per cent of all electricity generated between January and March 2017 came from renewable sources, with a boost in wind and solar capacity accounting for the climb from 25.6 per cent in the same period of 2016.

In addition, a record 24.8TWh of electricity was generated by renewable sources in the first quarter of this year, which represents a 5.1 per cent increase on the three months at the start of 2016.

This makes renewables the second-largest electricity source after gas (which accounts for 39.9 per cent of our energy), with nuclear energy the third-biggest source generating 18.9 per cent of the country’s electricity.

Coal use has fallen from 15.9 per cent in the first quarter of last year to 11.3 per cent at the start of 2017, while oil and other fuels were up slightly at 3.3 per cent in 2017, compared to 2.7 per cent last year.

Within the renewable energy sector, wind power dominates, with the amount of electricity generated by onshore wind farms climbing by 20 per cent year-on-year. By contrast, the amount of power from the offshore wind sector fell marginally by 2.7 per cent.

However, solar power and bioenergy both also recorded gains of 15.6 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively, with hydropower seeing the biggest fall (down by 15.1 per cent).

The UK has still exceeded its third interim target for energy generation from renewable sources, and is aiming to beat its next interim target for 2017/18 as well.

Executive Director of RenewableUK Emma Pinchbeck commented that this demonstrates that the renewable industry is using technology that’s more advanced and cheaper than ever before.

“Our innovative industries have matured to the point where we now reliably provide over 25 per cent of the UK with clean, sustainable power,” she asserted. With more and more on- and offshore wind turbine developments, companies in the sector will have to be increasingly careful with their health and safety procedures.

Making sure you have the correct emergency response plans and health and safety procedures in place is vital and will help ensure you deal with any incidents quickly and efficiently. 

One expert recently suggested that the best way to avoid incidents is to make sure your workforce is properly engaged with all the health and safety procedures.

Speaking at an event organised by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health earlier this month, Shane Gorman stressed that workers in the offshore industry should feel as though they can talk to one another about any health and safety issues that they come across in an informal way.

He added that organisations need to empower individuals when it comes to health and safety in the workplace, but especially in more risky offshore environments.