UK wind power overtakes coal for first time

Estimates have suggested that windfarms across the UK generated more electricity in 2016 than coal power plants for the first time.

The Carbon Brief claim that the milestone reflects a collapse in coal generation, which contributed just 9.2 per cent of UK electricity last year, compared to 11.5 per cent from wind.

The coal decline saw its output fall to the lowest level since 1935, with three major coal stations closing in 2016. The UK plans to close all of its remaining coal plants by 2025.

With coal use decreasing, it means that CO2 emissions from UK power generation will have fallen by around 20 per cent in 2016, enough to cut overall UK CO2 emissions by six per cent for the year, if other sectors’ emissions are unchanged.

Simon Evans, policy editor at Carbon Brief, said: “The past 12 months have seen a year of firsts for the UK’s electricity system. At the broadest level, the UK grid is changing as centralised power stations are joined by thousands of smaller sites, particularly renewables, as part of efforts to decarbonise electricity supplies.”

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will publish its own estimates on 30 March.

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