According to a recent report from Imperial College London, wind turbines in the UK have generated more electricity than gas for the first time ever. The study found that during the first quarter of this year, wind farms accounted for a third of the country’s electricity. In addition, the National Grid reported that April saw a record period of solar energy generation.
The UK aims to achieve net-zero emissions for all of its electricity by 2035. While the majority of the UK’s wind power comes from offshore wind farms, installing new onshore wind turbines has been effectively banned in England since 2015. However, in December of last year, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agreed to relax these planning restrictions to speed up development.
According to scientists, transitioning to renewable power is essential to mitigate the impacts of climate change, which are already being felt worldwide. This includes the UK, which experienced its hottest year on record in 2022. Solar and wind energy have grown significantly in the UK, with renewable energy sources accounting for 42% of the country’s electricity in the first quarter of 2023, while 33% came from fossil fuels like gas and coal.
However, a recent report from the BBC indicates that numerous green energy projects worth billions of pounds are on hold due to delays in connecting to the grid. Some new solar and wind sites are experiencing delays of up to 10 to 15 years due to a lack of capacity in the electricity system. Furthermore, electricity only meets 18% of the UK’s total power needs, as there are many demands for energy, such as heating homes, manufacturing, and transportation, that are not being met by electricity.
Currently, the majority of UK households use gas for their heating. The government aims to transition households away from gas boilers and toward heat pumps, which rely on electricity.