Christmas Day 2016 set a new record for renewable energy use in the UK, with 40 percent of power generated that day coming from green sources such as wind power. Data from the power group Drax showed the record-breaking percentage of energy generated on Christmas from renewables, compared with 25 percent in 2015 and 12 percent in 2012. Their data showed that three quarters of the renewable energy came from wind turbines.
Chief Executive of Drax Power, Andy Koss, said:
“These Christmas figures show that the UK energy system really is changing. Renewables are increasingly vital to the UK’s energy mix as we decarbonise and move away from coal.”
Drax Power is the largest coal power company in Britain, although they are now working to convert their facility to use biomass. According to Koss, the company provided 20 percent of the nation’s renewable energy during the first half of 2016.
“It’s important to have the right mix of energy generation to ensure we are decarbonizing, whilst also keeping the lights on and the costs down,” Koss said.
Drax Power recently said that the company was bidding to purchase business energy provider Opus Energy, along with four gas stations, in an effort to shift their focus away from coal. If that deal goes ahead, worth £340m, it would mark the creation of the fifth-largest business energy retailer along with Drax’s current Haven Power customers.
The UK reached a clean energy milestone earlier this month when data emerged showing half of all electricity generated there between July and September came from low carbon sources. This included wind turbines and solar panels, but also wood burning and nuclear reactors. That uptick in renewable use came largely from new solar and wind farms getting connected to the power grid, while a number of coal plants closed down. An even higher percentage of Scotland’s power came from low-carbon sources, which accounted 77 percent of power generated there. Scotland’s last coal power station was closed in the spring.
UK ministers have committed to phasing out coal power entirely by 2025, as environmental measures have made it increasingly uneconomical.
One spokesman from the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy said:
“We have made a firm commitment to reducing the UK’s carbon emissions, and these statistics show that we are doing exactly that.”
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