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Solar outstrips coal in past six months of UK electricity generation
Time:2016-10-11 Hits:

Electricity generated by solar panels on fields and homes outstripped Britain’s aging coal power stations over the past six months in a historic first.

Climate change analysts Carbon Brief found more electricity came from the sun than coal from April to the end of September, in a report that highlighted the two technologies’ changing fortunes.

Solar had already eclipsed coal for a day in April and then for the whole month of May, with coal providing zero power for the first time in more than 100 years forseveral days in May. The latest milestone saw an estimated 6,964 gigawatt hours (GWh) generated by solar over the half-year, or 5.4% of the UK’s electricity demand. Coal produced 6,342GWh, or 4.7%.

The trend will not continue into winter because of solar’s seasonal nature, but the symbolic records reveal the dramatic impacts solar subsidies and environmental penalties for coal have wrought.

A spokeswoman for the Solar Trade Association (STA) said: “This is a valuable milestone on the road to renewables overtaking fossil fuels. It is a testament to just how effective the British solar industry has been at installing clean and reliable power and at bringing down costs.”

“With intermittency costs today of around £1.3/MWh for solar [with around 10-12GW of solar installed], increasing to £6.8/MWh with a substantial 40GW of solar on the system by 2030, we would suggest these costs do not provide a strong argument against the further build out of renewable generation,” said the report, by the consultancy Aurora.

 

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