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Are Renewables Taking Over Fossil Fuels for Power Generation in Britain ?

Catherine Glaznieks
15 June 2020

windfarm

Wednesday June 10th 2020 marked the moment Britain went two whole months without burning coal to generate power. 

Is this all due to COVID-19?

Not quite.  Whilst electricity demand is approximately 20% lower than average, due to COVID-19 and the country experiencing some very hot weather, leading to lower power demand, significant changes in the power generation sector are starting to be realised.

Over the past decade there has been a quiet revolution taking place in power generation across Britain which has seen more and more renewable sources of power being sought.  Britain now boasts the largest offshore wind farm, located off the Yorkshire coast in the North Sea.  The farm has the potential to generate 1.2 GW and is the first offshore wind farm to have more than 1GW of capacity.

And although Britain is not renowned for its sunny weather, solar power generation only requires some level of daylight to extract the sun’s energy, meaning Britain can still harness solar power during our frequent overcast and rainy days.  The investment into solar energy continues, the Government only last month approved the construction of a large solar farm in Kent which could generate enough electricity for 90,000 homes.

A renewable power generation sector which is often overlooked is biomass.  Biomass power is electricity generated using plant-based fuels which can be wood pellets and wood chips, bioenergy crops or even agricultural and domestic waste.  Drax, the UKs biggest power plant supplying 5% of the country’s electricity, has been switching from coal to compressed wood pellets and plans to phase coal out entirely by March 2021.

With the continuing investment and scientific research in renewable technology could the next decade see fossil fuel power generation be consigned to the past?

 

Read More:

What does Britain’s two months without coal power mean?

Hornsea Project One, North Sea

Biomass UK Renewable Energy Association

 

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