Amongst the ever-increasing concerns about climate – concerns which have only been intensified by the recent heatwave – the subjects surrounding clean energy are becoming more significant than ever here in the UK. And although we still have some way to go, happily we’ve not been without our milestones. Here’s one of the most recent; for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, Britain is now obtaining more power from zero carbon sources like wind energy and solar panels than we are from carbon-based fuels such as coal and natural gas. So, how did we get to this stage, and what does it mean going forward?
Britain’s energy divide
Historically, the UK’s National Grid has always had to rely more on carbon fuels like natural gases to provide power to the nation, but it’s been making significant efforts in recent years to ensure that the its power is drawn from more sustainable sources. As of 2019, this has been successfully achieved for the very first time; clean energy from solar panels and wind has edged ahead, accounting for 48% of the UK’s energy generation, while 47% is provided by carbon fuels like coal. (Burning biomass accounts for the remaining 5%.) It’s the latest milestone in a steady decline for coal energy, in contrast to an encouraging boom from wind and solar.
In fact, we’ve already passed another energy milestone back in May, where the UK enjoyed our first ever coal-free fortnight, while generating record levels of solar power for two consecutive days. The experts at the National Grid estimate that in the past decade alone, coal generation will have plunged from 30% to 3%, while wind energy in particular has soared from 1% to 19% of our energy generation.
Right now, the majority of our carbon fuel comprises natural gases, which still makes up a sizeable portion of our power generation here in the UK. However, there’s no denying we’re in the middle of dramatic shift, driven by the increasing urgency to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
What’s been the reaction?
A spokesman from the National Grid highlighted the milestone as particularly encouraging news, saying there’s been real progress in the decarbonisation of the energy system. 2019 was noted as a tipping point, which may well pave the way for increasing reserves of energy storage to be created in future, expanding along with our rising demand for wind and solar energy.
The National Grid isn’t alone in making this change, however. More and more companies have been seizing on the opportunity to transform the way they power their businesses. Commercial solar power can offer modern businesses a whole range of advantages; the ability to generate energy on-site allows them to decrease their reliance on the National Grid, which can end up making them savings of hundreds or even thousands on their energy bills throughout the year – savings which can then be re-invested into other aspects of the business. What’s more, it can give them green credentials in the form of Corporate Social Responsibility in an ever more environmentally-conscious world, providing a valuable edge over competitors. And those are just a few examples!
Here at Low Carbon Energy, we have over 20 years of providing solar PV solutions for businesses and homeowners alike, making us the perfect people to help you revolutionise the way your business uses energy. Feel free to give us a call on 08456 808 963, and we’ll be happy to see how we can help!