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ESME STALLARD WRITES in BBC NEWS, May 11, 2023, “Wind is Main Source of UK Electricity for the First Time.” This is part of a trend noted in our country: “Weaning Off Coal,” at SimanaitisSays, April 1, 2023. Here are tidbits on this latest BBC News report.

Image by Daniel Leal/AFP. This and other images from BBC News, May 11, 2023.

U.K. Renewables and Goals. Stallard writes, “In the first three months of this year a third of the country’s electricity came from wind farms, research from Imperial College London has shown. National Grid has also confirmed that April saw a record period of solar energy generation. By 2035 the UK aims for all of its electricity to have net zero emissions.” 

U.K. Wind Farm Locations. “The majority of the UK’s wind power,” Stallard observes, “has come from offshore wind farms. Installing new onshore wind turbines has effectively been banned since 2015 in England.”

She explains, “Under current planning rules, companies can only apply to build onshore wind turbines on land specifically identified for development in the land-use plans drawn up by local councils. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agreed in December to relax these planning restrictions to speed up development.”

We in the U.S. are not without wind farm controversy. For example, back in 2019 Trump ranted, “The wind and the television go off. And your wives and husbands say: ‘Darling, I want to watch Donald Trump on television tonight. But the wind stopped blowing and I can’t watch. There’s no electricity in the house, darling.’ ”

I suggested two words in that SimanaitisSays item: “energy storage.”

WINDExchange, part of the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, shares information on Wind Energy Policies and Incentives.”  

Renewable Growth and Bottlenecks. Stallard writes, “Solar and wind have seen significant growth in the UK. In the first quarter of 2023, 42% of the UK’s electricity came from renewable energy, with 33% coming from fossil fuels like gas and coal.”

However, she notes, “But BBC research revealed on Thursday that billions of pounds’ worth of green energy projects are stuck on hold due to delays with getting connections to the grid.”

The U.K.’s electrical grid is in need of refurbishing, a situation similar to our own. Even back in 2017, SAE International’s Lindsay Brooke offered “A Micro Tale of EV Ambitions.” 

Electricity Only Part of an Energy Picture. Theo Leggett and Mark Poynting, BBC News, May 11, 2023, analyze “Renewables, Nuclear, and Fossil Fuels: The U.K.’s Changing Energy Mix.” They remind readers that “Energy is used for various purposes, including heating and powering homes, businesses, transport and industry. In 2022, the majority of the energy (79.1%) used within the UK came from fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas). This is down from 87.2% in 2012, mainly due to the declining use of the dirtiest fossil fuel, coal.”

Above, how energy use has changed within the U.K. Below, how the U.K.’s electricity mix has changed. 

It’s noteworthy that, like the U.S., over time the U.K. has swapped coal for natural gas, with growing segments of renewables.

Above, energy sources within the U.K in 2022. Below, electrical generation by fuel type.

What’s more, Stallard observes, “… electricity only accounts for 18% of the UK’s total power needs. There are many demands for energy which electricity is not meeting, such as heating our homes, manufacturing and transport.”

A Curiosity. Hydro is a mere 1.6 percent of electrical generation in the U.K.; it’s only 0.3 percent overall. There’s no equivalent of the U.S. Northwest nor of our overall picture: The U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy cites, “Hydropower currently accounts for 31.5% of total U.S. renewable electricity generation and about 6.3% of total U.S. electricity generation.”

What’s more, as noted here more than eight years ago, “What’s a ‘Renewable Source’ Anyway?” Despite regional, state, and local controversies on this, the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy says, “Hydropower is a renewable source of energy. The energy generated through hydropower relies on the water cycle, which is driven by the sun, making it renewable.”

And, even before the town council, local, state, and regional dust settles, let’s celebrate the U.K.’s—and our country’s—growing use of renewables. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2023 

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