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Title Low-carbon sources generated more UK electricity than fossil fuels in 2017
Source Other
Date 2018-01-23 PM 4:51:58 Hit 51
Contents


the first time in 2017, more than half of the electricity generated in the UK came from low-carbon sources, Carbon Brief analysis shows.
Mostly low-carbon
 
This year’s analysis is based on a combination of data sources, chiefly half-hourly electricity generation data compiled by Dr. Iain Staffell. The most striking finding is that low-carbon sources, for the first time, supplied more than half the total. The share from nuclear and renewables has doubled between 2009 and 2017, to reach just a shade over 50.0%
Fossil fuels supplied 47.5% of generation in 2017, down from 75.4% in 2010.
The lion’s share of today’s fossil supply is from gas, with coal generation having plummeted over the past five years.
Winds of change
The rise of low-carbon electricity supplies has been rapid, driven by subsidies for renewables.
Over the past year, the largest increase in generation for a single source came from wind, which was up 31% to 49 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2017.
However, nuclear remains the single largest source of low-carbon electricity in the UK – and the second largest source overall. It generated 70TWh in 2017, a figure that is virtually unchanged since the early 2000s, when a number of old reactors were closed down.
The other renewables also generated more in 2017 than in 2016. Solar rose 11%, on rising capacity, while biomass increased 4%
Reliant on gas
Notably, coal generation fell by a further 25% in 2017 to 23TWh, discussed in more detail below. Meanwhile, gas generation also fell, down 7% to 134TWh, well below its 175TWh output in 2010. Nevertheless, gas was the single largest fuel by far, supplying some 40% of generation in 2017.
 
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