For the first time on record, wind energy has beaten gas for energy generation in the UK. Figures from the Imperial College London have shown that a third of Britain's total electricity was powered by wind turbines between January and April this year. National Grid has also stated that April saw another record figure for solar power generation.
The news will provide a welcome boost to the country's drive to reach net zero by 2035, although campaigners point out that there is still a long way to go and plenty of hurdles to overcome. However, the author of the University report and energy research, Iain Staffell, said that the instance of wind exceeding gas on the supply front was a true and worthy milestone event worth celebrating.
The report was commissioned by Drax, through its Drax Electrical Insights work. Most of Britain's wind power comes from offshore wind turbines, as current planning rules make it very difficult to build onshore turbines. However, the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, has agreed that these restrictions will need to be relaxed in order to forge ahead with development.
Scientists say that the switch to clean energy is vital for limiting climate change impacts. Last year in the UK, the country experienced the hottest weather on record. Wind and solar power are both growing strongly in the UK. In Q1 of this year, renewable energy generated 42% of the country's needs, and just 33% came from coal and gas.
Now the focus is on building electricity connectors to allow billions of pounds worth of new clean energy projects to progress and ministers are encouraging households to look at heat pumps to support their generation at source. The progress is encouraging but there is still much work to be done.