Renewables generated more electricity than fossils fuels in 2020

Renewable power provided 42% of Britain’s power, with coal now just 2% of the mix

Britain generated more electricity from renewable sources than from fossil fuels for the first time in 2020.

That’s according to a new analysis by the non-for-profit climate think tank Ember and the German renewable energy research group Agora Energiewende, which suggests all renewables generated a record 42% of the UK’s power last year, compared to 41% from fossil fuels.

Nuclear plants’ output decreased and generated the remaining 17% – the reduction was due to the pandemic and the performance of the UK’s ageing nuclear reactors, the study suggests.

The report says the increase in the renewable generation was mainly because of the rise in wind power – for the first time almost 24% of the UK’s electricity was generated by wind turbines in 2o2o, up from 20% in 2o19.

The findings also reveal coal generated just 2% of the UK’s electricity last year, falling from 2015 when it delivered 23% of the UK’s electricity.

Ember suggests that fossil gas fell to a five-year low in 2020, an estimated 15% from 2019, with wind power taking four points off its generation market share.

Renewables also became the largest source of electricity for Europe in 2020.

If you enjoyed this story you can sign up to our weekly email for Energy Live News – and if you’re interested in hearing more about the journey to net zero by 2050, you can also sign up to the future Net Zero newsletter. 

Latest Podcast