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Earth & Energy

Renewable Energy Smashes U.K. Records, Supplying Over 50% of the Country’s Electricity

Solar, wind, and other renewable sources have provided more power than coal and gas.

Abby NormanJune 9th 2017

Record-Smashing

It’s been just two weeks since the last time the United Kingdom set new records in renewable energy. However, last May 26’s record was just with solar energy, and this week’s is for a combination of all the U.K.’s renewable energy resources.

According to the National Grid’s Control Room, solar, wind, and nuclear power each supplied more electricity than coal and gas combined at 1 p.m. on Wednesday (June 7) —  the first time such an event has occurred in the U.K. On the record-setting day, wind generated an estimated 9.5 gigawatts, nuclear power giving about 8.2 gigawatts, and solar contributing roughly 7.3 gigawatts. For reference, gas only provided some 7.2 gigawatts and coal did not generate any electricity at that time.

In another record, renewables such as wind, solar, biomass, and hydro also generated about 18.7 gigawatts combined. This was more than 50 percent of the nation’s total electricity demand, capable of powering about 13.5 million homes.

— NG Control Room (@NGControlRoom) June 7, 2017

Amazingly Disruptive

Although the record-breaking figures didn’t last long, it’s a sign of things to come. For one, it showed that renewable energy can sufficiently supply the electricity needs of a country — provided they be given the opportunity. Last Tuesday’s breakthrough was, indeed, because of a such an opportunity.

According to Aurora Research Energy, at the time when the renewables took flight, the U.K. was experiencing (for the first time) negative prices in its “day ahead” electricity market. This meant that wind power was supplying more then 40 percent of the country’s electricity generation. As The Independent reported, that’s a testament to how renewables could reduce electric bills.

Aside from its economic benefits, the environmental consequences would be undeniable. Dependence on renewable energy entirely would mean little to no carbon emissions. For any nation, that’s definitely a huge step forward in reducing planet warming gasses in the ongoing fight to curb climate change.

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