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British share of renewables setting records

Nearly a quarter of the electricity in the country coming from low-carbon resources.

By Daniel J. Graeber
British share of renewables setting records
Wind attributed for much of the gain in renewable energy feeding the British energy grid, provisional government report finds. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

LONDON, May 12 (UPI) -- A provisional estimate from the British government shows the amount of electricity generated from renewable energy set a record last year.

A monthly update from the British Department of Energy and Climate Change finds the share of electricity generated from renewable energy was a record 24.7 percent last year, which marked an increase of 5.6 percent from the previous year.

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On a quarterly basis, the DECC said fourth quarter data show the share of renewables increased year-on-year by 5 percent.

"The increase reflects increased capacity, particularly in solar photovoltaics and onshore and offshore wind," the government's report said.

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The British government heralded a final investment decision in February from European renewables company DONG Energy to build the Hornsea wind farm off the coast of Yorkshire. Designed with a full capacity of more than 1,000 megawatts, it will be the world's largest offshore wind farm ever built.

The country is among the world leaders in wind energy development, though low-carbon policies have come under fire from environmentalists. Last month, campaigners with the British Friends of the Earth dumped a ton of coal at the doorstep of the DECC to protest ongoing mining operations in the country.

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The campaign group is now pointing to a report from the World Health Organization that finds nearly a dozen British cities, including London, are failing to meet standards for particle air pollution. Friends of the Earth said road transportation in particular was offsetting gains elsewhere in the fight against climate change.

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"The figures for Europe might look like they're improving slightly but we're still talking about dangerous levels of pollution," campaigner Jenny Bates said in a statement. "There is no safe level of exposure."

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