Renewable output rose by 27% over 2017 due to windier weather and new capacity coming online, according to the latest Electric Insights report from Imperial College London.
Wind, solar, biomass and hydro together produced 96TWh of electricity during the year – more than enough to power the whole of Great Britain in 1958.
The quarterly report commissioned by Drax shows low-carbon sources, including nuclear, accounted for half of all electricity production, as fossil fuel generation dropped by a tenth. 2017 was a “watershed year” for wind, as output swelled by 45% to 45 TWh – almost double the figure for coal. Its share of total generation climbed to 15% from 10% in 2016, reaching 19% over the last three months of the year.
After plummeting by 60% in the previous 12 months, coal output fell by a further 25%, leaving it as the “preserve of colder months” when demand is greater than 35GW. April saw the first ever full day with no generation whatsoever and across the year there 618 coal-free hours.