In less than ten years, we’ve moved from large-scale coal, gas and oil plant supplying 80% of our national power demand to a far more decarbonised, diversified and decentralised model of generation.
Indeed, in the last quarter (Q3 19), renewable energy overtook fossil fuels as the main source of electricity to UK homes and businesses for the first time since the Industrial Revolution.
Renewables overtake fossil fuels
According to figures released by Carbon Brief, power from carbon-free generation supplied around 29.5 TWh in July, August and September, compared with 29.1 TWh from fossil fuel plant.
This translates to around 40% from renewables, including 20% from wind power, 12% from renewable biomass and 6% from solar.
Of the 39% supplied by fossil fuels, 38% came from gas and less than 1% from coal and oil.
The remainder was supplied mostly by nuclear (19%).
Share growing globally
Globally, the share of renewable energy is also growing, accounting for around 26% of the world’s electricity today. This is expected to increase to 30% by 2024, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
This increase equates to 1200GW of new renewable energy over the next five years, which is the equivalent of the total electricity capacity of the US.
Half of this is predicted to come from solar. But wind power is also expected to rapidly expand.
Onsite renewables to cut business costs
Business is expected to be the biggest driver of solar demand, as falling photovoltaic costs provide a practical solution to reducing rising energy costs.
When combined with other onsite generation or battery storage, there are also opportunities to sell power back to the grid at times of high national demand.
For example via National Grid’s range of balancing services or the growing number of regional schemes offered by local electricity network operators. (To find out more, get in touch with our experts at Energy HQ – contact details below.)
As well as cutting costs, incorporating onsite generation can also enhance a company’s environmental credentials.
Indeed, research by Unilever found that one third of consumers are making an active choice to buy from brands they believe are making a positive contribution to doing social and environmental good.
To find out more about the potential to incorporate renewable and other onsite generation at your business location, or sleeve-in third party renewable power to your energy contract, contact our Generation Services Team by calling 0800 193 6866 or send an email to nBS@npower.com.
Or if you’re an existing customer, please contact your dedicated Client Lead.