If the first half of the year is any indication, 2014 could be a banner year for green energy production and usage in Great Britain.
Thanks to a good winter for hydroelectric plants, and the combination of strong winds and a series of new windfarms, Britain produced 20 percent of its power needs from renewable energy sources from January to March. That represents an 8 percent increase from the same period in 2013, and was enough to power about 15 million homes.
The news from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is welcome if not entirely unexpected. Britain has been investing significant resources in renewable energy of late, partially to steer the region away from fossil fuels and carbon emissions, and partially because of global warming pushing consumers and constituents alike to demand more sustainable energy production.
The EU as a whole has set a directive of 15 percent of Europe’s energy production to come from renewable sources by 2020. The goal is ambitious but, considering Britain outpaced that production for three straight months over six years before the target date, it shows the continent is on the right course.
Other welcome news in the report included a 30 percent increase across all renewable energy sources between 2012 and 2013. That rise was led by offshore wind production, which increased by 52 percent, and was followed closely by solar power at 51 percent, while hydroelectric generation fell by 11 percent.
Rises and falls in Britain’s renewable numbers show how variable some of these power sources can be individually. Weather can greatly affect wind and solar harvests, much as decreased rainfall dropped hydroelectric generation in 2012.
Taken in total, this shows the importance of diversifying renewable energy holdings. With a diversified energy portfolio, countries can hedge against any one source coming up short and actually guarantee that no matter the weather, they’ll be positioned to maximize its renewable returns.