Wind and solar on the up as National Grid hails greenest summer ever

New data from National Grid has shown that growth in renewable energy helped make the summer of 2017 the greenest since industrialisation.

National Grid

(Credit: National Grid)

From 21 June to 22 September, almost 52 per cent of electricity generation was met by low carbon sources, including solar, wind and nuclear. In comparison, the same period in 2013 saw just 35 per cent of energy needs coming from low carbon generation. June 7 also became the first day when over half of the UK’s energy came from renewables.

“It’s been an exciting year managing the many ‘network firsts’ – from a day where we operated the system with zero coal power, to one where over half of Great Britain’s energy demand was met by renewable generation,” said Duncan Burt, director of the System Operator at National Grid.

Growth in offshore and onshore wind has contributed significantly to the share of green generation. This week, ScottishPower Renewables announced that it has now installed over 2000MW of wind power across the UK, with eight new onshore wind farms coming online as part of a recent £650m investment programme.

National Grid

(Credit: ScottishPower Renewables)

“It’s now cheaper, easier and faster to build onshore wind,” said Keith Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower Renewables. “In a little over 18 months we have built over 470MW of onshore wind, delivering enough power for more than 280,000 homes and with it significant environmental and financial benefits for the UK.”

“We have seen competitive auctions deliver huge price reductions in offshore wind, and we expect onshore prices to tumble as well.”

“If the industry was given a level playing field with other technologies a further 2,000MW could be built in Scotland by 2020. These projects will complement offshore and ensure that the UK has enough green electricity to power a clean energy future.”

Meanwhile, today will see climate minister Claire Perry cutting the ribbon on the UK’s first subsidy-free solar installation. Anesco’s Clayhill solar farm and energy storage facility, located near Flitwick in Bedfordshire, will provide 10MW of generation capacity, alongside 6MWh of battery storage. According to Anesco, construction and installation of the project was completed in 12 weeks.

National Grid

(Credit: Anesco)

“For the solar industry, Clayhill is a landmark development and paves the way for a sustainable future, where subsidies are no longer needed or relied upon,” said Anesco’s executive chairman Steve Shine.

“Importantly, it proves that the government’s decision to withdraw subsidies doesn’t have to signal the end of solar as a commercially viable technology.”