How Much Renewable Energy Does the UK Use?
National Grid energy data shows that renewables accounted for over 45% of the UK's total electricity generated in 2022. This meant that renewables overtook fossil fuels for the first time on record and became the UK’s largest source of electricity.
This was a huge milestone in green energy and demonstrates that positive steps are being taken to fight climate change and improve sustainability in the energy sector.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about renewable energy and how it is being used in the UK.
What is renewable energy?
According to the United Nations (UN): “Renewable energy is energy derived from natural sources that are replenished at a higher rate than they are consumed.” This means that the energy source cannot run out and has a zero or low carbon footprint.
On the other hand, fossil fuels are a nonrenewable source and they do not replenish. Experts estimate that we will run out of fossil fuels by 2060 if we keep burning them at the current rate.
Where does renewable energy come from?
Renewable energy comes from various sources - here are some of the most popular types of renewable energy used today:
Suggested reading: Check out this article by National Geographic for more information on the types of renewable energy available.
Why is renewable energy important?
People have been relying on fossil fuels for energy for over 150 years. The continuous burning of fossil fuels releases greenhouse gas emissions which cause global warming.
Climate change is having a devastating impact on our planet - the earth is warming, polar ice caps are melting, and sea levels are rising. These changes can increase the risk of natural disasters like severe floods, droughts, and wildfires.
Finding a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels is essential if we are going to tackle climate change and reverse the effects of global warming. Scientists warn that we must act now to avoid causing irreversible damage to our planet.
2035 renewable energy targets
The UK government has pledged to decarbonise energy systems by 2035. The aim is “to secure a future clean electricity supply, that’s generated in the UK, for the UK.”
This will reduce the harmful effects of fossil fuels and protect homeowners and businesses from volatile wholesale energy prices. Household energy bills increased by a massive 54% in April and another price hike is expected in October.
Renewable energy, like solar for agricultural buildings, will play an essential role in helping the UK transition away from reliance on fossil fuels.
What are the benefits of renewable energy?
One of the biggest benefits of renewable energy is that it's sustainable and does not produce any harmful byproducts.
The energy industry is the largest contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions and is responsible for roughly 35% of total global emissions, according to the UN. Transitioning to renewable energy will slash emissions and reduce your carbon footprint by a significant amount.
Renewable energy is typically a lot cheaper than fossil fuels - especially when global wholesale energy prices are increasing so rapidly!
For instance, at an equivalent rate of 5-6p/kWh solar electricity costs around one sixth of the normal price of electricity, currently in the region of 30-40p/kWh, from the National grid, say experts at MyPower. Plus, it’s fixed, meaning you’ll be in control of your own electricity supply and won’t be affected by energy price increases in the future.
Commercial solar panels also have a relatively short payback period and should lead to long-term cost savings for your business.
We are quickly depleting our resources and fossil fuels are expected to run out this century if we continue burning them at the same rate. Finding renewable energy sources is becoming increasingly important as fossil fuel supplies diminish.
Renewable energy comes from natural sources that are replenished at a faster rate than they are consumed. This means they have an endless supply and will always be readily available.
Data shows that the use of renewable energy is increasing, and renewables overtook fossil fuels for the first time in 2020. Positive steps are being taken towards sustainability, but more action is needed if the UK is going to decarbonise its energy systems by 2035 or sooner.
Switching to renewable energy like solar allows homeowners and businesses to reduce carbon emissions and gain access to a low-cost and reliable natural energy source.
Get in touch if you would like to find out more about the benefits of solar energy.