UK enjoys ‘greenest year ever’ in 2017

Britain achieved its 'greenest year ever' in 2017 thanks to 13 new records across the clean energy sector, according to analysis from WWF.

Major highlights in 2017 include the greenest summer ever, as well as the first ever working day without coal power generation since the Industrial Revolution. Last year also saw low-carbon sources reach a record-high share of the UK’s electricity mix and an all-time low cost of offshore wind.

WWF head of energy and climate Gareth Redmond-King said: “2017 has been an amazing year for renewable electricity in Britain; we have never been cleaner or greener – and we are on course for an even better year in 2018.

“Climate change is wreaking havoc on our nature and wildlife, but we are at last facing up to the challenge, turning our backs on polluting fossil fuels and embracing a new clean future.”

Other notable highlights include solar producing a quarter of Britain’s electricity supply on 26 May, and wind, nuclear and solar all generating more than both gas and coal combined on 2 July.

Word of warning

Since 2012, Britain has halved its emissions in the electricity sector and now ranks as the seventh cleanest power system in the world.  

But WWF warns that more work must be done to ensure the UK achieves its long-term climate change targets. The organisation is calling for the Government to deliver a detailed plan to follow up the Clean Growth Strategy, with a specific focus on heat decarbonisation.  

It also asks for clarification over the future of onshore wind and solar, alongside proposals for the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars to be brought forward eight years to 2030.

The UK Government has admitted that it is not on course to meet its fourth or fifth carbon budgets and is yet to demonstrate how the measures set out in the Clean Growth Strategy will push Britain to the required level of emission reductions by 2032.

George Ogleby

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