Solar power surpasses coal in the UK
The opening paragraph of the latest report on the UK’s electricity generation landscape from Carbon Brief is a big deal:
“Saturday 9 April 2016 was the first-ever day where more electricity was generated in the UK by solar than by coal. May 2016 was the first-ever month. The three months from June through to September was the first-ever quarter. And now the six months to September is the first half year.”
Q2 and Q3 of 2016 are proof that a future which relies on renewable energy is not only possible, but that the world is shifting in that direction already.
The only fact anyone can agree on regarding fossil fuels is that they will eventually run out. This is inevitable no matter what new technologies are invented to extract them from the earth, or what new desecrations of the wilderness we are forced to endure in order to continue fossil fuel production.
Eventually, fossil fuels will run out and we will have to run the world using alternative, renewable sources of energy.
Luckily for us, sitting up prettily in the sky is a constant, bright source of clean energy which provides solar power directly as well as being the engine behind the winds. Utilising the giant fusion lamp we call the sun is simply a matter of will and capability – we have the latter, but the former is often lacking.
However, the report from Carbon Brief signifies a small win in the fight against a world ruled by fossil fuel energy. Q2 and Q3 saw 6,964 gigawatt hours of electricity generated through solar technologies – equivalent to 5.2% of the UK’s total energy demand. In comparison, coal fired power stations generated 6,342 gigawatt hours, almost 10% less.
We can only hope that this small step is built on rather than being seen as a victory in its own right. It is important that the UK continues pushing on and improving the country’s renewable energy provision. Assuming that solar power is given priority over new coal fired energy sources in the future – which is not a sure thing given then overwhelming power of the energy industry – then we might be on the path to a slightly better future.