UK renewables: UK renewable energy had a bumper weekend, and year

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For about an hour on Monday the UK was generating 80% of its electricity from low-carbon energy sources — a record for the country.

That particular hour was unusual, it was a very windy and sunny day (which is ideal), but it does reflect a UK power grid that is increasingly green. Last year, according to data from the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the UK generated almost 43% of its electricity from renewable sources — mostly wind, bioenergy, solar and hydro power. A decade ago that number was just 7%.

The UK electricity grid also racked up 5,147 hours without the use of coal power last year, with a 68-day coal-free streak which was the longest stretch of time that the UK hasn't used coal since the industrial revolution.

Energy vs. electricity

These numbers are obviously encouraging, but it is important to distinguish between total energy and just electricity. A majority of UK homes are heated using gas, and a lot of transportation still relies on burning fossil fuels (cars, planes etc).

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