Many countries are on a mission to lead the way towards a future where 100% of our energy demands are met by renewable sources. New wind and solar farms are springing up apace, with countries keen to attract developers to install new wind and solar farms and manufacturers working hard to reduce the cost of their technology.
The UK as a whole has been investing heavily in wind farms, recently installing the Burbo Bank Extension off the coast of Wales, home to a new array of the tallest and most powerful wind turbines in the world. Over May and June 2017, renewable energy generation broke a number of records, proving that in the right conditions, it’s capable of producing some serious power.
Figures provided are for Great Britain only, as Northern Ireland is part of a separate electricity market, SEMO, which operates across Ireland and Northern Ireland.
On May 26th, clear skies led to solar power providing 24.3% (8.7 GW) of GB demand, as tweeted by the National Grid Control Room:
— NG Control Room (@NGControlRoom) 26 May 2017
On the 7th June 2017, renewable energy broke another record, with Great Britain generating just over 50% of its electricity from renewable sources:
When including nuclear power as a low carbon energy source, the combined total stood at a staggering 72.1%.
Earlier on the same day, for the first time ever, more electricity was generated individually by nuclear, wind and solar power than by gas and coal combined.
Whilst these numbers are impressive, their generation was in part down to the weather conditions. These were pretty much perfect for electricity generation, with a combination of sunny skies for solar power, and high winds for wind power.
#Renewables (wind, solar, biomass, hydro) breaking another record at 1pm today providing 18.7 GW (50.7% of demand)
— NG Control Room (@NGControlRoom) 7 June 2017
The high winds across the majority of Europe during this time also led power prices to fall to a record low, to a tenth of their usual cost. Maf Smith, Deputy Chief Executive of Renewable UK said “It’s a sign of how things are changing – coal is coming off and renewables are growing.”
Whilst these high energy generation figures don’t always last for long, they’re certainly an indicator that once investment in renewable energies have taken place, they are capable of producing enough energy to meet demand.
You can follow the breakdown of energy generated by different sources in Great Britain by following the National Grid Control Room’s twitter feed @NGControlRoom
It’s also possible to follow electricity generation for certain countries, including Canada, the US and most of Europe using Electricity Map, which shows in real-time how electricity for a certain country has been generated and the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during this process.
Investing in renewable energy is not only proving to be an economically sensible choice, but is also an essential step to reducing our global carbon emissions. Thanks to record breaking statistics like these, it certainly looks as though the future is bright.
Top image: Rhine-main Windräder Field Sky Wind Energy (Public Domain)