For the first five months of 2019, Great Britain used more energy from renewable sources than it did from fossil fuels. According to figures from the National Grid, clean energy sources accounted for 48% of generation, compared to 47% for coal and gas. The other 5% was biomass.
The use of coal has seen a dramatic drop over the last ten years, falling from 30% of the generation mix to just 3%. Renewable energy sources have picked up the slack, in particular wind energy.
It’s worth noting that ‘clean energy’ is an umbrella term that covers all zero-carbon power sources – including nuclear power along with wind, hydro and solar. Nuclear energy accounted for 24% of the energy mix in the first five months of 2019.
There is an urgent need to reduce overall carbon emissions in order to curb climate change, and energy generation is an obvious place to start.
Speaking to the BBC, John Pettigrew, CEO of the National Grid, said: “Over the last 10 years there’s been real progress in de-carbonisation of the energy system – but 2019 is going to be a key milestone.”
“It’s the first time since the Industrial Revolution that more electricity has been produced from zero and low-carbon sources rather than fossil fuels. It’s tremendously exciting because it’s such a tipping point.”
The National Grid are confident that these figures can be used to predict energy use for the rest of the year, based on data and historical patterns.