Wind power becomes UK's primary source of energy for first time
Wind power becomes UK's primary source of energy for first time

Wind turbines have generated more electricity than gas in the UK for the first time, with scientists hailing the news as a "milestone event" in the race to reach net zero.

Research from Imperial College London has revealed that in the first three months of this year, wind power produced a third of the country's electricity. 

Solar energy generation also hit a record high in April. In the first quarter of 2023, 42 percent of the UK's electricity came from renewable energy, with 33 percent coming from fossil fuels like gas and coal.

The UK has set a target for all of its electricity production to have zero emissions by 2035.


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"There are still many hurdles to reaching a completely fossil fuel-free grid, but wind out-supplying gas for the first time is a genuine milestone event," said Iain Staffell, energy researcher at Imperial College and lead author of the report. 

The UK's wind power has largely come from offshore wind farms, despite legislation effectively banning the installation of onshore farms in England since 2015. Planning rules mean companies can only apply to build new farms on land that has been approved for development in land use plans drawn up by councils.  

But, in an effort to increase the speed of onshore wind farm installation, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak relaxed some of those planning restrictions in December. 

Despite the progress being made in transitioning to renewable energy sources – which is designed to reduce carbon emissions and the impact of climate change – other obstacles are hindering the UK's ability to reach net zero.

Research by the BBC has found that green energy projects such as new wind and solar sites may have to wait 10 to 15 years to be connected to the national grid because of a lack of capacity in the electricity system. 

Electricity also accounts for just 18 percent of the UK's energy needs – manufacturing, transport and heating homes all require other forms of energy to power them, such as gas, which is used to heat the majority of UK properties.


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