For the first time ever, more electricity came from renewables than fossil fuels throughout the whole of Q1 2020.
During the first three months of the year, over 40% of Britain’s electricity came from renewable energy sources, with 30.6% coming from gas according to Drax’s newest Electric Insights Quarterly.
This was bolstered by a surge in wind generation on the back of the wettest and windiest February since records began. As such output from wind farms was up 40% from the same period last year, and almost out-produced gas in February, supplying 30.5% of Britain’s electricity versus 30.6% from gas.
The amount of wind on the system would have been even higher, had it not been for the outage on the Western Link subsea cable.
Wind power had an all-time high capacity factor in February, with onshore wind farms averaging 50% and offshore wind farms averaging 60%.
This not only beat out fossil fuels, with a 34% capacity factor for gas and just 17% for coal, but also the country’s nuclear fleet, which had a capacity factor of 59%. During the quarter 3.5GW of coal capacity was retired, leaving just over 5GW at three power stations, a far cry from the 28GW on the UK grid a decade ago.
Energy UK’s interim chief executive, Audrey Gallacher, said:
“It is fantastic that renewables have overtaken fossil fuels for the first time – with 40% of Britain’s power generated from renewables – in the first three months of the year. This new record, along with the country’s current 40 days coal-free run, is a further testament to how far our sector has come.”
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