British economy getting greener

Total electricity consumption down in first quarter.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   July 31, 2014 at 10:12 AM
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LONDON, July 31 (UPI) -- Renewable energy is gaining a foothold in the British economy following a banner year for green investments, the government said Thursday.

British Energy Secretary Ed Davey said more than $13.5 billion was invested in 2013 across a wide range of sectors in the renewable energy industry and it's starting to pay off.

"Renewable electricity has more than doubled in just four years -- with around 15 percent of Britain's electricity already coming from clean renewable sources like wind, solar and hydro," he said in a statement.

The government released data showing renewable energy's share in electricity generation increased 7 percent year-on-year to 19.4 percent.

The use of fossil fuels in general has declined, with coal's share falling 3.7 percent to 37.1 percent. The use of natural gas declined 3.2 percent to 23.4 percent, the lowest share in at least 16 years.

"Having a strong U.K. renewable sector helps to reduce our foreign imports of energy, improving our energy security, as well as helping us tackle climate change and creating new hi-tech green jobs," the secretary said. "A green energy future that once seemed impossible for Britain is fast becoming a reality."

Total electricity generated during the first quarter of 2014, the last period for which data are available, declined 8.2 percent year-on-year. Consumption was down 5.3 percent.

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