Data from the UK’s National Grid showed that 2017 was the nation’s most environmentally friendly year on record when it comes to power and electricity generation. Thirteen clean energy records were broken over the course of the year, according to a report Thursday from BBC News.
This past June, renewables including wind and solar, in addition to nuclear power, generated more than gas and coal combined.
Carbon emissions from electricity generation have fallen by 50 percent since 2012, making Britain’s the fourth cleanest power grid in Europe, and the seventh cleanest globally.
Earlier this year, the UK enjoyed its first day since the industrial revolution without the use of any coal power whatsoever. And it was more than a fluke. Data from the power research firm MyGridGB found that for 90 percent of the year up to December 12th, renewables generated more power than coal. Wind farms alone generated more power than coal during 75 percent of the year.
The British government is planning to phase out the generation of electricity from coal by 2025, with the exception of coal generation in which emissions are mitigated by carbon capture technology.
The price of offshore wind power fell below that of nuclear for the first time in 2017.
With all this progress, the UK must now address its dependence on gas power, which was only overtaken by renewable energy 23 days of the year.
Dr. Andrew Crossland from MyGridGB and the Durham Energy Institute explained:
“The government has focused on reducing coal use which now supplies less than 7% of our electricity. However, if we continue to use gas at the rate that we do, then Britain will miss carbon targets and be dangerously exposed to supply and price risks in the international gas markets.”
He also called for additional government support for clean energy to “avoid price and supply shocks for our heat and electricity supplies.”
A spokesperson from the Government’s Energy Department called the UK “a world leader in clean growth,” and noted that the nation is cutting emissions faster than any other G7 country, including Japan, Germany, the US, France, Italy, and Canada.
He said emissions would continue to be reduced into the 2020s, and that the government would support the creation of well-paying jobs in clean energy.