The latest renewable stats are out, and we like what we see. Renewable energy made up 35.8% of all electricity generated in the UK in the first quarter of 2019. When Bulb started in 2015, renewable generation made up 25% of the UK’s total electricity - that’s a staggering 10% increase in the last four years.
While all renewable sources have grown in the last few years, bioenergy and wind have the biggest share.
Bioenergy includes burning landfill gas, sewage gas, household waste, plant and animal biomass, and anaerobic digestion. Right now, there’s no consensus on whether burning biomass has lower greenhouse gas emissions overall than fossil fuel alternatives. It could have a potentially significant long-term role in helping to meet UK climate goals, but until the carbon savings can be guaranteed and verified, we won’t buy electricity generated this way.
Wind power is well suited to the UK’s geography. Both onshore and offshore wind are crucial ways to increase renewable electricity generation. Onshore wind hasn’t grown as quickly as offshore wind, because current government policy effectively blocks the development of new onshore wind farms. To continue increasing renewable electricity generation on the UK, we’ll need government to champion all renewable technologies.
More people are on green tariffs than ever before
Before Bulb, only 1% of the UK were on a renewable tariff. Today, that figure is closer to 10%. More people on affordable renewable tariffs helps drive the market for green energy. As more people make the switch, we’ll need more renewable generation to meet this demand. For example, if 50% of the UK chose a renewable tariff, the UK would have to supply 50% of its energy from renewable sources.
It feels good to see this change happening, especially as the UK public are the driving force behind it. We’ve already seen big moves in the market this year, like EON switching their residential customers to 100% renewable electricity.
There’s still a way to go
The UK is definitely heading in the right direction. But to reach Net Zero by 2050 the share of renewables in UK electricity generation needs to increase from 35% today to 90% by 2050. To be on track for that, renewable generation needs to continue to grow by 9% each year between now and 2050.
The figures show that UK renewables have been growing at an average of 18% each year since 2009, so it’s well within our reach.
Header image photo credit: Ørsted's Walney offshore wind farm, one of our generators
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