Wind overtakes gas as the UK’s main source of electricity for the first time

This important milestone reflects the UK’s changing energy landscape

For the first time in the UK, wind turbines have generated more electricity than gas. This occurred in the first three months of 2023, when a third of the UK’s electricity came from wind farms, according to Imperial College London.

What’s more, the National Grid has confirmed that April 2023 marked a record period for solar energy generation. Because installing new onshore wind turbines has effectively been banned since 2015 in England, the majority of the UK’s wind power comes from offshore wind farms.

In the first quarter of 2023, 42% of the UK’s electricity came from renewable energy, compared to 33% coming from fossil fuels like coal and gas. This is a promising and necessary update, as the UK is aiming for all of its electricity to have net zero emissions by 2035.

Energy researcher at Imperial College, Iain Staffell, comments: “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.”

How is the UK energy landscape changing?

With 2050 as the deadline for reaching ‘net zero’, much less energy needs to be generated by fossil fuels, and much more needs to come from renewable sources. Businesses are required to put green promises into practice, and as such, the UK energy landscape is changing.

Electricity only accounts for 18% of the UK’s energy. While more electricity was sourced from renewables in early 2023, the same can’t be said for energy as a whole. When looking at energy – including heating, manufacturing and transport, the UK still relies greatly on fossil fuels. In 2022, 79.1% of UK energy came from fossil fuels.

However, the landscape is undoubtedly shifting. Around one fifth (20.1%) of UK energy use came from low carbon sources in 2022, up from 12% in 2012. Progress is taking place, but some experts argue it’s not happening quickly enough.

What can the UK do to ensure net zero is met?

The government has said that, in order to reach net zero energy by 2050, all electricity should be generated from green sources by 2035. There are also other ambitious targets in place to decarbonise electricity and energy, including increasing offshore wind, carbon capture and hydrogen. Businesses and households are also being encouraged to use electric heat pumps instead of gas boilers, and the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030.

However, independent climate advisors the Climate Change Committee (CCC) have warned that the UK risks missing its 2035 clean electricity target without increased effort. They suggest reducing natural gas usage more quickly, improving the energy efficiency of homes, changing planning laws around renewable projects, and reforming the energy grid.

Businesses must adapt to changing trends

Sustainability is essential for modern businesses, and organisations that take advantage of greener energy sources and contracts can benefit from lower costs, reputational advantages and more, while also doing their part to protect the planet.

Consultiv Utilities can help your organisation reach its sustainability goals. Through a comprehensive energy audit, we’ll get to know your business and help to create a clear plan of action for improving your sustainability and lowering your energy costs.

Looking for help and advice on effectively managing your business energy? You’re in the right place. Reach out to a member of our team today and find out how we can help you. Click here to get in touch with the team at Consultiv Utilities.