Renewables beat coal for first time in UK electricity mix

Renewables outstripped coal as a source of electricity in the UK during a full quarter for the first time ever, government data published Thursday shows.

According to the report, a combination of higher wind speeds, more installed solar panels and a 19.5% increase in rainfall — which resulted in record output at hydroelectric power stations — all contributed to renewables accounting for over 25% of generation in the second quarter of 2015.

Gas-fired power stations provided the most electricity – 30% – with renewables second. Nuclear power was third with 21.5%, while coal fell back to fourth, with 20.5%.

According to industry body Renewable UK’s chief executive, Maria McCaffery, new technologies such as solar and wind power have now become Britain’s second largest source of electricity, generating more than a quarter of the nation’s needs.

“The new statistics show that Britain is relying increasingly on dependable renewable sources to keep the country powered up, with onshore and offshore wind playing the leading roles in our clean energy mix,” she noted in an e-mailed statement.

Howether, on a global scale, coal is expected to overtake oil consumption from 2017, according to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) released in 2012.

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