Britain's renewable electricity capacity overtakes fossil fuels

08 Novembre, 2018, 18:08 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Image Drax

Biomass, the production of energy from plant or animal waste material, is the third largest renewable generator with a capacity of 3.2GW.

While solar panels are second, with rooftop systems and solar farms primarily across the south of England, now responsible for 13Gw of the renewable capacity. At the start of this decade, Britain had seven times more generating capacity from coal, oil, and gas as it had from renewables.

The report also looked at the rising price of power, which is now at a 10-year high, and found Brexit was partly to blame.

Meanwhile, balancing costs averaged £3.8 million per day over the third quarter of 2018 - the highest level on record - and added 6 per cent to wholesale prices.

Dr Iain Staffell said:"We are probably three years away from having more electricity produced by renewable sources than fossil fuels over the course of a year."

"The cost of balancing the system has doubled in the last four years", he said. Big questions remain on how best to integrate weather-driven renewables, how far we should decentralise the power system and how to make the markets work for smart and flexible technologies. At the same time, renewable capacity has tripled to 41.9GW. "Balancing costs rise when the output from flexible generators such as gas, coal, biomass and hydro, falls below 10GW".

Earlier this week a new analysis from trade bodies RenewableUK and the Solar Trade Association revealed the United Kingdom energy storage sector is growing far faster than expected with over 300 companies delivering around 7GW of capacity that is either built, under construction, or in planning development - a level that far exceeds official projections.

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Wind and solar have, predictably, been the two most prevalent technologies.

"Having a brittle power system with limited flexibility will be more expensive to control". "More flexible generation, storage and demand-side response will be critical in minimising system costs in the future".

However, the amount of power from fossil fuels was still greater over the quarter, at about 40% of electricity generation compared with 28% for renewable sources.

While the infrastructure for fossil fuel based generation is shrinking - a quarter of the country's coal capacity has retired in the past year leaving just six generators.

"The IPCC's report recognised that in order to meet our climate change targets, up to 85% of global power generation needs to come from renewables by 2050".

It stated: "Power prices have risen by 50% in the a year ago due to the rising cost of gas and carbon emissions, and uncertainty around Brexit weakening the pound". This week, the German energy company RWE said it was freezing plans for a new 2.5GW gas plant in Tilbury, Essex.

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