The energy and climate think tank Ember ranked the UK 6th for their share of power generated by renewable energy. Denmark held the number one spot. In 2019, wind accounted for 47% of their power usage.
The Rise of Wind and Solar Energy Consumption
The UK falls not too far behind, with 24.2% of its electricity powered by wind turbines in 2020. Prime Minister Boris Johnson claims that offshore wind turbines can create enough energy to power every home in the UK within a decade. He plans to upgrade ports and factories for building turbines. The plan also will invest money into manufacturing sites in Teeside Humber located in Northern England.
Along with the growth of wind power, solar power has also increased in popularity. It made up 6% of the total renewable energy generated in 2019. In 2020, there was a significant increase in ground-mounted solar systems. These were mainly driven by large-scale utility projects. There was also a slight increase in rooftop installations.
The partnership between Solar Energy UK and Solar Media Ltd. helped to provide market insights on these projects.
The Decline in Fossil Fuel and Coal Usage
The UK has also decreased its production of coal over the past few years. The amount of coal consumption dropped from 54 million metric tons in 2012 to 2.9 million metric tons in 2019. In fact, the UK only accounts for 3.6% of the world’s total coal consumption. The UK imports most of its coal from Russia.
The UK also saw a decline in its generation of fossil fuels. The pandemic was one major cause of the shift. With the lockdowns, there was lower demand for electricity. This led to the shutdown of many coal-fired plants. Also, during the pandemic, fewer people needed gas.
The UK’s growing wind industry also impacts the decrease of fossil fuel production. With more wind power available, the less need to rely on nonrenewable sources. The UK is also home to the largest single wind farm in Yorkshire. The plant generates 5% of the country’s total electricity.
The Demand for Electricity Has Declined
The electricity demand has been declining in the UK for the past few years. In 2020, the need for electricity fell to 331,4488 gigawatts per hour. Part of this was due to COVID-19, but other factors include energy-efficient regulations and more eco-friendly consumers.
Since more people understand the benefits of using renewable energy, there’s a lowered demand for other sources.
Why Renewable Energy Is Playing a Larger Role
The UK’s stricter government regulations are causing an increase in renewable energy sources.
In 2015, there was a Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MESS) put in place for Whales and England.
This standard set an energy efficiency level for all domestic private rented properties. If the residence has an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of F or G landlords need to make changes to improve their property. These changes may have to do with lighting or heating.
For example, you could add a solar water heater or solar panels to your home. The MESS regulations were put in place to help the UK reach its carbon reduction targets.
More energy-efficient homes also lower energy bills for consumers. This is why buying energy-efficient appliances are attractive to many people. Residents aren’t the only ones thinking about energy-efficient options. Some power plants use compressed air storage to save energy. This can help to increase the supply during peak energy hours.
There Is Still More to Be Done
While the UK and other countries, such as the U.S. and China, are moving towards renewable energy use. There is still more that needs to be done. To help curb climate emissions, we need to work towards 100% clean energy by 2050. This will help to try and limit the global temperature rise to 1.5℃.
With the UK’s increase in renewable energy and reduction of fossil fuels, they’re helping steer us towards a cleaner future.