Solar and wind could provide 60% of UK power

Solar could play a pivotal role in a future energy system without jeopardising security of supply, a new report has revealed.

It found that wind and solar, the two cheapest forms of renewable generation on the market today, could provide more than 60% of total electricity by 2030 which, combined with existing nuclear and natural gas capacity, would be capable of meeting demand

Solar, wind and batteries to dominate global generation by 2050

Solar capacity is set for a 17-fold increase globally by 2050 owing to falling technology costs, particularly in battery energy storage, and a decline in the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE), according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). “The result will be renewables eating up more and more of the existing market for coal, gas and nuclear.”

Coal emerges as the biggest loser in the long run. Beaten on cost by wind and PV for bulk electricity generation, and batteries and gas for flexibility, the future electricity system will reorganise around cheap renewables – coal gets squeezed out. In addition, gas is expected to become increasingly used to provide back-up for renewables, as the market switches to a new form of baseload generation from wind, solar and batteries.

Solar sets new records

The UK’s solar output topped that of any other generation technology over the weekend as the UK’s heatwave continues the record-breaking trend of solar generation.

Data from the government and National Grid-backed Sheffield Solar PV_Live project showed that on Saturday 30 June at around lunchtime solar delivered ~9.38GW which, while just shy of a new generation record, was equivalent to almost 28% of supply. As the afternoon continued, solar is then thought to have topped gas output, which has only occurred a handful of times since the first reported instance in April 2017.

Heatwave helps solar power reach new weekly records

The recent heatwave has done more than just lift the country’s spirits, it has also helped the UK to break numerous solar power-generation records, the Guardian reports.

Director of system operations at the National Grid, Duncan Burt, said: “During the past 12 months alone, we have seen renewable generation records broken and we expect this trend to continue, as technology advances and we find new ways to accommodate and manage more wind and solar power on our network.”

Solar has, as of yet, only become the primary electricity source at weekends, when demand is generally lower, but it is still encouraging to see. Across the UK, solar panels on rooftops and in fields were the number one source for around an hour on the afternoon of Saturday 30 June.