Climate Northern Ireland Logo
 
Fossil Fuel Use Falls

Fossil Fuel Use Falls 30 July 2021

Fossil fuel use falls to record low in 2020 as renewable generation surges (via inews.co.uk)

By Madeleine Cuff

The amount of electricity the UK generated from fossil fuels fell to a record low last year, official data has confirmed, with renewables producing more power than coal or gas for the first time in British history.  

Power produced by sunshine, wind, biomass, and water delivered 43.1 per cent of UK electricity last year, compared to 37.7 per cent from coal and gas, according to official figures released today by the Government.  

Low demand for power during lockdowns helped to ease pressure on generation, allowing the power grid to run for long stretches without using coal–fired power at all. New offshore wind farms also helped to deliver a sharp uptick in wind generation, with wind power alone providing almost a quarter of the UK’s electricity in 2020.  

Dan McGrail, CEO of the trade body Renewable UK, said the data was “stellar news” particularly coming ahead of the climate summit COP26, which the UK government is hosting in Glasgow later this year.

“It shows that this country is playing a leading role in the global energy transition, with renewables becoming the dominant source of new power generation – outstripping fossil fuels for the first year ever and setting new record highs across the board,” he said.  

Coal power now delivers only a tiny fraction of the grid’s power, leaving gas as the dominant fossil fuel in the UK electricity mix. Worried about gas’ still sizeable carbon impact, campaigners are stepping up calls for the UK to wind down all fossil fuel generation in the coming years. A recent report warned plans to build a string of new gas power plants could derail the UK’s climate targets.  

Read more here.