Renewable energy is lighting up the United Kingdom. This year alone, it's set all sort of records, using all types of measurements. Back in May, the U.K. National Grid said that solar energy met 24 percent of the nation's electricity demand, setting a new record. Then, in July, renewables — solar, wind, and nuclear energy — teamed up to provide more electricity than coal and gas combined, setting yet another record.
Now, the U.K. government has said that almost a third of the country's electricity during the second quarter (Q2) of 2017 came from renewable energy. “Renewables’ share of electricity generation was a record 29.8 percent in 2017 Q2, up 4.4 percentage points on the share in 2016 Q2, reflecting both increased wind capacity and wind speeds, as well as lower overall electricity generation," according to a recent government report.
Powering the Future
Renewable energy didn't get this popular overnight, clearly. The U.K. has been improving its renewable infrastructure for the past couple of years. The recent report noted that renewables' overall capacity increased to 38.0 GW by the end of the first half of 2017. Much of this increase comes from onshore wind power plants, which produced 50 percent more energy over 2016's Q2 figure, while offshore wind increased by 22 percent.
Emma Pinchbeck, director of industry at nonprofit RenewableUK, was, of course, delighted with these latest figures. “It’s terrific to see that nearly a third of the U.K.’s electricity is now being generated by renewables, with wind power leading the way," she said, according to The Independent.
The appeal of renewables isn't limited to clean energy and a cleaner environment. Equally promising is how renewables are improving people's lives, which Pinchbeck also noted: “The U.K.’s renewable energy sector is an industrial success story, attracting investment, creating new jobs, and powering our economy."
Hopefully, this success inspires more nations to follow the U.K.'s lead in embracing renewable energy.