Windfarms generated more than three times as much electricity last year than coal, new government figures show.
The latest quarterly edition of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) energy trends statistics shows that wind contributed a record 17.1 per cent of the UK’s electricity last year, up from 14.8 per cent in 2017.
Offshore installations provided slightly more (9 per cent) than onshore windfarms (8.1 per cent).
Offshore generation rose by 28 per cent year-on-year while solar increased 12 per cent, reflecting the sunny conditions during last summer’s heatwave.
Overall, renewables generated a record 33.3 per cent of UK electricity. Low carbon generation, comprising renewables and nuclear, reached another record at 52.8 per cent.
And 2018 saw an 11.8 per cent jump in the total level of electricity generated by renewable sources to 111 TWh .
A comparison between the fourth quarters of 2017 and 2018 showed an even more dramatic increase in renewables’ share of UK electricity generation.
The share went from 30.1 per cent in 2017 to 37.1 per cent in the equivalent period last year.
According to BEIS, this increase was partly fuelled by the conversion of both the Drax and Lynemouth power stations from coal to biomass burning.
Gas remained the biggest source of electricity generation in 2018, supplying 39.4 per cent, while coal accounted for just five per cent.
The total electricity generation in 2018 dropped 1.4 per cent compared to 2017, while imports across interconnectors increased 17.4 per cent.
Consumption of electricity was broadly stable in 2018 compared to 2017, up 0.1 per cent.
Renewable UK’s deputy chief executive Emma Pinchbeck said that the latest record-breaking figures demonstrate the “unstoppable momentum” for renewables.
She said: “We need government to fully recognise that renewables are the future in our energy policy – from fair markets for flexible power and innovation funding for new technologies, to removing the obstacles in the way of our cheapest form of generation: onshore wind.”