The Rise of Renewable Energy



By the end of 2018, renewables made up one third (33 per cent) of UK energy production as total energy consumption fell. Wind, solar and biomass energy soared to record high levels last year. This happened as total power consumption fell to its lowest levels since 1994. Renewable energy also reached a record high in the UK last year as overall electricity generation fell to its lowest level since 1994.

According to an analysis by Carbon Brief, a climate website, renewable methods of energy generation such as wind, solar and burning plant material, made up 33 per cent of the total power used in 2018. Wind contributed 17 per cent, solar accounted for 4 per cent and biomass produced 11 per cent. What’s more, there was an overall drop in the amount of electricity generated last year. It dropped to 335 terawatt hours (TWh), the lowest it has been since 1994. This is also a 16 per cent drop from its peak in 2005.

Renewable Energy on the Rise

The dramatic drop in electricity per person is down almost a quarter since 2005. This is according to the analysis based on data from BM Reports, Sheffield Solar and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Analysts believe that this lesser need for power was down to individuals being smart about energy efficiency, as well as thinking economically.

Simon Evans, Carbon Brief’s policy editor, said that this new data demonstrates how Brits are becoming more aware of where their energy comes from. Speaking to the Guardian, he said, “It could be a combination of more efficient appliances, energy-saving light bulbs and, more recently, LEDs.

“Then there’s supermarkets installing better fridges, industry using more efficient pumps. Across all of those businesses, efficiency will have been going up. And of course, there’s the changing nature of the industry in the UK.”

Meanwhile, nuclear power supplied just less than 20 per cent of the total. Low carbon power sources accounted for more than half (53 per cent) of UK electricity generation last year. Despite concerns of a rebound in burning coal for power in the face of high wholesale gas prices, the most polluting fossil fuel saw an increasing decline in 2018. Out of the entire total, it hit a record low of merely 5 per cent. In addition to this, Gas dropped down to 39 per cent as fossil fuels fell to their lowest ever share of the mix.

Energy Conscious

These figures do not include electricity imports. These are at a similar level to what they were in the ’90s, but higher than the 2000s, Carbon Brief said.

According to energy minister, Claire Perry, “This Government’s decision to put the move to greener, cleaner energy at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy is truly paying off, with these figures showing a record year for renewables and electricity generated from low-carbon sources.

“We are investing more than £2.5 billion in low carbon innovation by 2021, helping this booming market to thrive, creating jobs, delivering clean energy and tackling climate change.”

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Not only does this show us a dramatic change in the habits of UK citizens, but gives us an insight into the potential future for the engineering industry. Staying up to date with these patterns and changes can give you a good idea of where you should take your business in the future. This means you will need to keep your eye on all relevant training courses that will benefit you and your business. ECTA is here to help further your knowledge, as well as get your foot in the door. To learn more about our engineering courses, get in touch.