In the third quarter of 2019, the UK’s wind farms, solar panels, biomass and hydropower plants generated more electricity than the combined output from power stations fired by coal, oil and gas.
That’s according to a new analysis from Carbon Brief, which shows that during July, August and September, renewables generated an estimated total of 29.5TWh of power, compared with just 29.1TWh from fossil fuels – this is the first time this has ever happened in the history of the UK’s power system.
The study notes nuclear contributed most of the remainder, generating 19% of the total mix.
In 2010, fossil fuels generated 288TWh of power, making up roughly three-quarters of the UK total and more than tenfold the 26TWh that came from renewables – since then, generation from clean sources has more than quadrupled and overall demand has fallen, leaving fossil fuels with a much smaller percentage of the total power produced.
Despite these successes, Carbon Brief suggests the UK remains significantly off-track to meet its upcoming legally-binding carbon targets, “let alone the recently adopted goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050”.
The government has today promised it will tackle air pollution, plastic waste and climate change in the Queen’s Speech – it has announced a new raft of measures will be introduced to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habitats.