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Wind and solar power produce more electricity than nuclear power for the first time in the UK

Wind and solar power produce more electricity than nuclear power for the first time in the UK

In 2017, Britain's greenhouse gas emissions also fell by 3% as coal use declined and renewables rose

Wind farms and solar panels produced more electricity than the UK's eight nuclear power plants for the first time at the end of last year, official figures show.

Britain's greenhouse gas emissions also continued to fall, dropping 3% in 2017, as the use of coal fell and the use of renewables increased.

Energy saw the biggest drop in emissions of any sector in the UK, 8%, while pollution from transport and business held steady.

Power industry bosses said the figures showed the government should reconsider its ban on onshore wind subsidies, a move ministers have hinted could happen soon.

Lawrence Slade, CEO of the Big Six Energy UK lobby, said: "We need to keep up… ensuring that lower-cost renewables are no longer pushed out of the market."

Throughout the year, low-carbon energy sources - wind, solar, biomass, and nuclear - provided a record 50.4% of electricity, up from 45.7% in 2016.

But in the fourth quarter of 2017, high wind speeds, new renewable energy installations and lower nuclear production saw wind and solar power becoming the second largest source of energy for the first time.

Wind and solar power generated 18.33 terawatt hours (TWh), with nuclear power at 16.69TWh, according to figures released by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
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But renewables still have a long way to go to catch up with gas, the UK's main source of electricity at 36.12TWh, which saw its share of generation decline slightly.

Greenpeace said the figures showed the government should capitalize on its leadership in renewables and "stop wasting time and money propping up nuclear power."

Horizon Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Hitachi, is in talks with Whitehall officials to obtain a financial support package from the government, which it says it needs by mid-summer.

In contrast, large-scale solar and terrestrial energy projects are not eligible for support, after the Conservative government cut subsidies in 2015.

However, Energy Minister Claire Perry recently told House magazine that "we will have another auction that will bring in wind and solar energy, we have not said when yet."

Original article (in English)

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