Solar power, wind and bioenergy surged to supply a record one-quarter of UK electricity between April and June this year, according to government statistics.
At 25.3% of national electricity production, renewables output leapt by over eight percentage points, and the sector now looks set to establish itself firmly as Britain's second biggest electricity source after gas. In order of importance, the major sources of British power generation in Quarter 2 of 2015 were gas, renewables, nuclear, and coal.
Injecting a ray of sunshine into the current gloom of cutbacks to renewables support, solar PV generation more than doubled over the relatively sunny early summer across Britain to deliver an extraordinary 4 per cent of all electricity. NFU members can note with some satisfaction that this means more than 2% of national electricity was generated from farmers' fields and roofs (we own or host over half of the current 8000 megawatts of UK solar capacity), with an additional 6% from onshore wind power (most of which is hosted by farmers and landowners, including around 2000 small and medium turbines).
Under the EU Renewable Energy Directive, Britain needs to provide 15% of all energy (electricity, heat and transport) from renewables by 2020. With slower progress in renewable heating and transport, the national share of renewables in power generation is expected to reach 30-35% over the next five years. At least clean electricity production seems to be on track to reach this target - but it is regrettable this is not acknowledged as a great success, and now is not the time for Whitehall to to be taking its foot off the pedal.