Last winter, wind power emerged as Britain’s largest single source of electricity. Onshore and offshore wind turbines generated 20% more electricity than gas-fired power plants between October and March, according to a new study from Imperial College London.

Wind continues to be a strong force in the first half of 2024. In the first quarter, wind provided 33% of the UK’s power mix, the highest among all sources, and on one day in late January, it met over 70% of UK power demand.

Coal consumption has also been steadily decreasing, with coal providing just 1.4% of electricity from January to March this year.

Nuclear power saw a minor decline in capacity and output during the first quarter of 2024, marking its lowest share in the UK energy mix since 1965. Despite this, nuclear has seen significant funding and progress in the past year or so. Most recently, £196m in funding was invested to produce nuclear fuel at the Capenhurst site in Cheshire.

UK’s position in clean energy growth

The report highlights emissions from the world’s 30 largest CO2 emitting countries. The UK has reduced its CO2 emissions by 52% since its emissions peak in 1971. This achievement places it in the top spot and ahead of other major countries like France and Germany, which have reduced their emissions by nearly 45% and over 40%, respectively.

The report, commissioned by Drax, emphasises a “fairer comparison” by accounting for the different peak emission times of countries. For example, while the US shows no reduction against a 1990 baseline, it has reduced its emissions by 18% since their peak in 2005.

Dr Iain Staffell, the report’s lead, said, “With governments across the world committed to tackling climate change, it is vital we have a way to track their progress that is both accurate and fair.

“By looking at when emissions from a country peaked, we have a fairer way of assessing how seriously countries are taking their commitments to reduce carbon emissions.” 

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