The UK is generating more energy from zero-carbon sources than fossil fuels for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, the National Grid has announced. In what has been described as an ‘historic milestone’ on the way to a net zero carbon future, gas and coal generated 46% of Britain’s power in the year to the end of May, while zero carbon sources generated 48%. The remaining 3% came from biomass burning.
A decade ago, coal plants generated almost a third of the UK’s electricity. Now there are only seven left* – two of which are earmarked for closure – and in the first five months of this year, they provided only 3% of UK electricity. Wind turbines, having generated a meagre 1.3% of our electricity in 2009, now produce 18.8% of it. Nuclear power reactors provide most of the rest of the zero-carbon energy. The debate continues about the cost/output of renewable sources with huge investment required for nuclear power plants, not to mention the potential hazards. Many oppose wind turbines as being a ‘blot on the landscape’ and their positioning is crucial for this reason not to mention the potential danger to migrating birds and other hazards. We watch with interest!
*NB – since writing this blog the government has given the go-ahead for the first deep coal mine to open in 30 years in Cumbria in 2022. Could this tip the balance back the other way?
Wind turbines – a blot on the landscape or objects of beauty?