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Signalling of green era as UK renewable energy surpasses fossil fuel use

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The signalling of a green era as UK renewable energy surpasses fossil fuel use in 2020 

For the first time renewable energy surpassed fossil fuel use in 2020, making it the dominant power source in the Europe’s electrical grid.  

In the UK, renewable energy set a new record as it accounted for almost 42% of the country’s electricity last year. Around 30% of electricity generated came from solar and wind power projects, making 2020 the greenest ever for British power generation. The latest figures are a welcomed change as the UK works towards reaching its climate targets. [1] 

During 2020, there was sudden drop in demand in energy from the national grid as shops, offices, and restaurants closed their doors due to COVID-19 restrictions. In order to avoid the grid being overwhelmed with more energy than the UK needed, the electricity system operator (owned by the National Grid), called on nuclear reactors to lower their output and left gas plants idle. This made room for renewable energy to step up and claim dominance of the UK electrical grid. [2]  

Throughout last year, the UK recorded multiple green energy records, including the highest record of output for wind during storm Bella on Boxing Day. But the positives of the increased renewable output do not stop there, the ‘carbon intensity’ of the UK’s power system fell to its lowest level in record history. The carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour of electricity fell to 181g. Compare that to 215g in 2019, and 248g in 2018, this is a 28% reduction.   

The figures show that Britain is edging closer to the power system of the future being powered by renewables, but the Government must ensure adequate capital continues to be invested into the development of renewable generation projectsThe continuation of such projects will not only prove vital to the success of the Government’s ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ ambitions, but will offer a wealth of opportunities for jobs in the renewables sector.  

The Government recently announced a further £20m investment to develop the next generation of offshore wind projects in Teesside, North England. The development will see the creation of 5,500 new jobs within the facility itself and its supply chain. The new wind plant will operate alongside the newly announced Freeport and will make the River Tees a major UK hub for offshore wind. This monumental investment will see the capacity for up to three offshore wind manufactures. Construction on the multi-million-pound development is set to get underway this year. [3]  

The development in Teesside, along with others recently announced in the Government’s budget will see a surge in demand for skilled workers in the renewables sectorThe skills demand will require a knowledgeable and skilled workforce to be ready to help drive forward the Green Revolution. Renewable energy training providers must ready their operation and prepare for an influx in delegates entering the workforce, as the UK shores become a beacon of opportunity for the sector.  

Notes to editors:  

  1. https://renews.biz/66426/uk-renewable-energy-sets-new-record-in-2020/  
  1. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/28/uk-electricity-from-renewables-outpaces-gas-and-coal-power  
  1. https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/more-5500-new-jobs-coming-23674937