Good news on the wind!

By Jim Haywood

Whilst we all get used to a new normal in terms of how we are having to live our lives in response to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid 19), at least for the next few weeks or months, it is important to remain positive and recognise that we will get through this challenging and, for many, distressing period.  All our hearts go out, I am sure, to those who are suffering and have lost loved ones as a result and I wish good health to all reading this short piece.

At a time when it feels we are being buffeted by so much gloomy news about the spread of Covid 19 and its impacts, it is good to hear some good news blown in on the wind – quite literally.  According to the latest Energy Trends report (March 2020) published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (DBEiS), the amount of renewable electricity generated in the UK in 2019 reached a record high – 8.5% more than in 2018 at 119.3 TWh, largely due to increased capacity.  Renewables accounted for 36.9% of the UK’s total electricity generation – an increase of 3.8% on 2018 and a record high.  Wind power accounted for an unprecedented 20% of this.

This switch away from fossil fuel electricity generation towards renewables has had an impact on the UK’s total CO2 emissions – provisional estimates show that these fell between 2018 and 2019 by 3.9%.  This means that the UK has almost halved its CO2 emissions compared with 1990 levels – an encouraging result.

In response to this good news Melanie Onn, the Deputy Chief Executive of RenewableUK, a membership organisation whose membership is for organisations involved in wind and marine renewables, said:

“Today’s record-breaking figures show just how radically the UK’s energy system is changing, with low-cost renewables at the vanguard. This will continue as we build a modern energy system, moving away from fossil fuels to reach net zero emissions as fast as possible. As well as wind, we’ll use innovative new technologies like renewable hydrogen and marine power, and we’ll scale up battery storage.

So, good news and exciting stuff!  But, just as science coupled with personal decisions and behaviours changes will help us crack the Covid 19 challenge, so it will need both these to help decarbonise our energy supplies and achieve the UK Government’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.  As many of us spend more time at home perhaps we might consider switching our domestic energy supplier to one who guarantees a genuinely 100% renewable source?  Or better still, encouraging our businesses to make that switch – for example by joining the LSA’s Legal Renewables Initiative and taking advantage of the discounted tariff being offered to LSA members by Good Energy (with associated domestic discounts for those signed up to the LRI).

So, mingled in with the current ill wind of Covid 19 there is also some really good news being blown in on the wind which gives us all hope for the future!

Here’s hoping that all readers stay safe and healthy in these challenging times.

Useful info:

Planet Pod’s Net Zero series of podcasts in conjunction with the Grantham Institute

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