by Daniel J. Graeber
London (UPI) Dec 22, 2015
For the third quarter of 2015, low-carbon electricity generation for the British energy sector was higher than last year by 7.2 percent, the government said.
The British Department of Energy and Climate Change released data for the third quarter showing a decline in carbon-intensive energy production.
"Low carbon electricity's share of generation accounted for 45.3 percent in the third quarter of 2015, up from 38.1 percent in the same period of 2014, with the fall in coal and gas generation offset by an increase in generation from renewables and nuclear," the DECC stated.
British Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd announced plans last month to phase coal out of the country's energy portfolio within the next decade. The secretary said the government would start restricting the reliance on coal-fired power by 2023 and close all coal-fired power stations by 2025.
For the British economy, Rudd said that, even though the renewable power sector is increasing, coal provided more electricity last year than it did in 1999, showing the nation's grid lacked the proper balance.
For the third quarter, the DECC said natural gas accounted for roughly 35 percent of all electricity generated, nearly twice as much as the capacity for coal. Nuclear power accounted for roughly 22 percent, while renewables accounted for 23.5 percent, a 5.9 increase from third quarter 2014.
The British government has faced criticism for embracing natural gas as a low-carbon option from advocates concerned about the potential environmental impacts tied to hydraulic fracturing. In July, the government announced plans to end public subsidies for new onshore wind farms starting in April 2016. Rudd defended the moves by saying the removal of subsidies would keep consumer bills low.
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