Renewable energy becomes second largest source of global electricity
Renewable electricity generation outpaced natural gas this month to become the second largest source of electricity worldwide, according to the International Energy Agency.
Globally, coal remained king with 9,613TWh of electricity produced, around 41% of global electricity production compared to 5,130TWh (22%) from renewable energy sources.
In OECD economic zone countries, electricity production fell slightly by 0.8% from 2013-14, with massive decreases in coal electricity production offset by increases in non-hydro renewable energy production from wind and solar power.
The report also found in OECD countries that solar power had overtaken solid biofuels, used in biomass plants, to become the second largest non-hydro renewable source after wind power.
The figures come as the Department for Energy and Climate Change released its Energy Trends figures for Q1 energy generation. Renewable energy electricity in the UK was up to a record 22.3% share of generation, up 2.6% on the same period in 2014.
Increases in solar generation to 0.8GWh and wind generation to 11.7TWh drove up overall renewable energy generation.
At the end of Q1 the UK’s renewable electricity capacity totalled 26.4GW, an increase of 7.4% on new capacity installed in Q4 in 2014.
79% of new capacity (1.4GW) came from new solar photovoltaics at the start of 2015, with onshore and offshore wind increasing by a total of 1.9GW.
DECC: quarterly renewable energy generation
The new figures follow announcements from Scotland that wind power in July provided enough electricity to power 72% of all Scottish homes, providing more than 660,000MWh of electricity to the national grid.
The increases to solar power capacity and wind energy in Q1 2015 came ahead of Government cuts to renewable energy subsidies and ending renewable power's exemption from the Climate Change Levy in the Budget last month.