Coal power sank to historic lows unseen in Britain since the 19th century amid “dramatic” increases in offshore wind generation, latest UK government data shows.
With just 500GWh generated in the nation where it once fuelled the industrial revolution, coal accounted for less than 1% of UK power in the second quarter of 2019, a period that included the nation’s longest spell without any in its mix since the 1880s – more than 18 days, according to official energy statistics.
By contrast wind generation was “the driving factor” behind a 10% year-on-year increase in renewable generation, including a “dramatic” 25% rise for offshore wind output.
Renewables accounted for 35.5% of UK power in the April-June period, up from 32% at the same stage in 2018. Gas remained the nation’s leading generation fuel at 43%.
The statistics come a week after the UK re-staked its claim as the world’s offshore wind leader, with plans to offer at least another 7GW of leases for development in the 2020s, and the award of record-low-price government power deals.
Luke Clark, director of strategic communications at industry group RenewableUK, said: “This month’s landmark steps forward for offshore wind, with a record amount of new capacity secured at record low prices and a further round of development announced, means that we’ll see renewables reaching ever higher levels in the next ten years.”