How Preston is producing its own energy

Revealed how much renewable energy is being produced in the city

Friday, 5th November 2021, 3:45 pm

More than 10,000 megawatts per hour of renewable energy were produced in Preston last year, figures show.

Environmental groups have urged the Government to expand on the success of a significant rise in green energy across the UK, amid vital UN Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow.

Figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy show 15,999 megawatts per hour (around 16 gigawatts) of renewable electricity were generated in Preston in 2020.

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Preston generating more than 10,000 megawatts per hour of electricity each year

This was 10 per cent more energy than the 15 GWh produced the year before, and more than double the amount produced in 2014 – the earliest year of data available.

Across the UK, 134,600 GWh of renewable energy was generated in 2020 – a 13 per cent rise on the year before, and above the nine per cent increase from 2018 to 2019.

Renewables outstripped fossil fuels for the first time last year, representing 43 per cent of total generation – compared to 37 per cent in 2019.

Friends of the Earth said this is good for both the planet and the economy, as renewables are now the cheapest power source.

Mike Childs, head of policy at the environmental campaign group, said: “However, far too much of our energy still comes from climate-wrecking coal, gas and oil, and this has to change.

“The Government must rapidly accelerate our use of renewables to end our reliance on dirty fossil fuels.”

Of the nine different types of energy in the figures, offshore wind grew at the fastest pace and is now responsible for a greater share of energy (30 per cent) than any other producer – followed by onshore wind (26 per cent) and biomass and waste (24 per cent).

Climate think tank Ember said huge falls in costs means the growth in offshore wind power is set to go "parabolic" in the coming months.

Phil MacDonald, chief operating officer at the organisation, added: "But the Government is still missing the opportunity of cheap onshore wind, and not doing enough to explore earlier-stage technologies like geothermal and tidal.

"To ensure a speedy phase-out of expensive imported fossil gas, there needs to be a stronger commitment to support innovative energy storage."

The biggest producer of energy in Preston last year was solar power, which generated 15 GWh – 91 per cent of the total.

This was followed by onshore wind farms (five per cent), and hydroelectric energy – which generated a further one GWh (four per cent).

Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said wind power is a "British success story" and a key part of the Government's aim to decarbonise the UK’s whole electricity system by 2035.

He added: "This year alone we’ve attracted five new offshore wind factories to the UK, bringing jobs and investment to our industrial heartlands.

“We are applying this successful model to nuclear, hydrogen, solar, and other renewables so they become the obvious and affordable choice, helping to end our reliance on expensive, volatile natural gas.”