In these challenging times many of us are glued to the latest headlines. We scroll and scroll through the news on our phones and laptops in a bid to feel informed, but unfortunately we end up feeling more despondent and overwhelmed than before. However here at YouGen we believe there are good stories out there than will help give us hope, but you might just not have seen them yet. We would like to shed some light in these dark times and share with you some positive news stories from the world of energy. So please read on to hear good news from home and abroad that you may have missed.
Good news for renewables in the UK
It is clear that 2019 was a record-breaking year all round for renewable energy. Here in the UK, renewable energy generated over a third of our electricity throughout the year, and outpaced fossil fuel plants on a record-breaking 137 days.
Green sources accounted for 37% of our electricity over the year, delivering 119.3TWh, up from 110TWh the previous year. According to the Carbon Brief, renewables were up by 9% on 2018 and were the largest sources of electricity in March, August, September and December. Considering that the first 24 hour period without coal took place in 2017, and the first 21 day-streak happened in 2018, the fact this grew to 83 coal-free days in 2019, represents a huge advancement.
Amazingly, wind power alone made up over half of this amount, consisting of 20% of our electricity. With onshore and offshore windfarms contributing equally to the overall output, wind power is clearly proving to be a very reliable source of green energy in our windy island. This figure is in part due to the triumph of Hornsea One, an offshore windfarm off the Yorkshire Coast which reached its maximum capacity by the end of the year and subsequently became the largest offshore wind farm in the world.
Other sources of renewable electricity were also seen to rise, for example a record amount of electricity was produced by bioenergy, increasing to 36.6TWh, up 5.2% from 2018. And although solar power was down slightly, in part due to shorter daylight hours, on the 13th May solar power produced a new record of 9.47GW, which it rapidly broke again on the following day by generating 9.55GW.
Leading the way, Scotland produced 90% of its electricity from renewable sources in 2019, and is postive about meeting its goal of 100% renewable electricity by the end of this calendar year.
RewnewableUK deputy chief exectuive Melanie Onn said these “record breaking figures show just how radically the UK’s energy system is changing, with low-cost renewables at the vanguard.”
Good news for energy in Europe
Last year, renewables finally became the main source of electricity in Europe with the growth in demand outstripping supply for the first time.
Since 2015, Europe’s electricity sources have become far greener, with renewables showing a greater increase than fossil fuels. According to EnAppSys,the contribution of renewables has risen by 24% whereas fossil fuels have only increased by 4% in the same period.
In 2019, according to the think-tank Agora Energiewende, the estimated proportion of electricity generation from renewable sources reached a record high of 34.6%. Across Europe hydro power remains the largest source of green energy, constituting 15.5% of the total electricity generated. Hydro plants produced an astounding 425.8TWh over the last year. The second largest generator of green electricity was wind power, which met 13.9% of Europe’s demand by generating 382.5TWh of energy.
Furthermore, according to new statistics from the Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB), the growth in renewable demand outpaced renewable energy supply in Europe last year. By tracking the use of Guarantees of Origin (GOs) they have determined that renewable energy grew an estimated 61TWh from 2018. This is a growth rate of 11.7% in 2019. Although the UK is not a member of AIB, as it uses its own Renewable Energy Guarantees Origin (REGOs) to track renewable generation, it still influences the EU market. In fact, last year the UK saw a significant rise in exports of REGOs to the European market.
Energy generation around the world
After a record-breaking year, the world’s capacity for wind power increased by a fifth, global coal generation fell by an unprecedented amount and large-scale solar installations hit a new record in 2019.
According to the Global Wind Energy Council, electricity generation from wind power increased by 60.6 GW which is a rise of 19% compared with 2018. This represents one of the best years on record for global wind power. The rise of nearly a fifth is largely due to the increased capacity of China and the USA, which together represent almost two thirds of the growth.
Around the world in 2019, coal generation fell by 3% and power sector emissions fell by 2%. These figures are according to new analysis from climate think tank Ember, which suggests a multitude of reasons could be behind the fall, but that in an increase in wind and solar power are likely a contributing factor. Coal derived power fell in the EU by 24% and in the USA by 16%, making it half of the level from 2007 in both areas. Many old coal power plants are retiring and being replaced by low-carbon alternatives and renewables, contributing to this unprecedented fall of coal.
After dipping in 2017 and 2018, installations of solar panels kickstarted back into growth in 2019. According to Wiki-Solar, the leading three countries which the most energy generated from large scale solar installations are China, the USA and India.
We hope these good news stories have cheered up your day and will remind us all that brighter times will come again.
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If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.