Solar power nudges ahead of coal power for a month for first time ever
The long days of summer have helped UK solar power to nudge ahead of coal power month-on-month for the first time ever.
In a triumph for sustainability campaigners, the month of May saw solar panels generate 50% more electricity than coal, according to a new report from analysts Carbon Brief. This amounted to 1,336 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity last month, compared to a coal output of 893Gwh in the same time frame.
The last two months have seen big successes for the renewable energy source versus its fossil fuel counterpart, with solar taking over coal output for the entire day on 9th April this year, and the amount of energy produced by coal actually falling to zero on several days in May – which commentators said had been an unprecedented event since the late 19th century.
Solar’s growing dominance is thought to be thanks to coal’s ongoing decline, with several power stations having closed this year, including Fiddlers Ferry plant in Cheshire, and Eggborough and Ferrybridge in Yorkshire.
The elderly age of many plants and increasing restrictions on their pollution levels have also contributed, as has the Government’s pledge to decrease all coal-fired electricity programmes by at least 2025, if not before, with a think-tank advising the shutdown to come a full two years earlier.
As a renewable energy source, solar panels have become increasingly affordable ‒ although the Government has controversially recently cut subsidies for solar and wind farms in favour of nuclear power and fracking.
Although investment in the UK specifically has wavered of late, around the world, investment in renewable energy is said to have reached £196 billion in 2015.
Former Conservative Energy Minister Lord Greg Barker said: “The government should give investors [building greener energy projects] even greater certainty and with that, put UK plc firmly at the forefront of the global drive for clean and smart energy technologies.”
Published by Green Jobs Online - 8th June 2016