Renewables supplied 19.2% of UK power in 2014

Offshore wind farm turbines
CC BY-SA 2.0 Flickr

Change doesn't happen in a linear fashion.

Indeed, those of us who have been pushing for a low carbon future would have been forgiven for thinking it was a futile cause just a few years ago. Yet now, change seems to be picking up pace. Dramatically. The latest example of this is news from the UK, reported over at Business Green, that renewables made up 19.2% of the country's power supply last year, up from just 14.9% a year earlier. At the same time, both coal and nuclear dipped, while gas increased its share a little bit too. Digging into what those renewables actually were, it looks like wind and solar were up 16.6% on the previous year, due mainly to new capacity, while hydropower was up 26%. (This was the result of heavier rainfall, so can't necessarily be counted on year-over-year.)

This is good news indeed, especially when considered in the context of Britain's 10% reduction in electricity demand over the last 5 years too.

When it comes to decreased electricity demand, it's worth noting, of course, that Britain and other Western nations have outsourced many of their carbon-intensive manufacturing operations overseas, so there is an argument to be made that the country's real carbon footprint/energy consumption is considerably higher than just the energy used at home.

But here too, there are some solar-powered silver linings appearing around the (renewably powered?) cloud—namely Chinese coal use is falling, and global carbon emissions stalled last year.

But now's not the time to take the foot off the pedal. Indeed, with general elections coming up in weeks, the Conservatives are promising a moratorium on onshore wind turbines. No wonder the Greens are so scathing of politics as usual...

Renewables supplied 19.2% of UK power in 2014
That's up from 14.9% just a year earlier.

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