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UK had 'cleanest year' on record in 2019 while half of Denmark's energy came from renewables

An offshore wind farm is visible from the beach in Hartlepool, England, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019.
An offshore wind farm is visible from the beach in Hartlepool, England, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. Copyright AP/Frank AugsteinFrank Augstein
Copyright AP/Frank Augstein
By Alice Tidey
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The share of fossil fuels in the UK's energy mix dropped from 75% in 1990 to 43% in 2019.


The UK had its "cleanest year" on record last year as the consumption of clean energy sources surpassed that from fossil fuels, while half of Denmark's electricity consumption came from renewables, new data show.

Data released by Britain's grid operator on Wednesday showed that wind farms, solar and nuclear energy as well as clean energy imported from subsea interconnectors accounted for 48.5% of the UK's electricity in 2019 compared to 43% generated by fossil fuels. The remaining 8.5% was generated by biomass.

In 1990, fossil fuels accounted for 75.5% of the UK's electricity generation, while wind, solar and hydropower combined totalled just 2.3%.

"The historic milestone comes as we enter the mid-point between 1990 and 2050 — the year in which the UK has committed to achieve at least 100% reduction in emissions based on 1990 levels," the statement noted.

Last month, the National Grid unveiled a five-year investment plan of £10 billion (€11.7 billion) of which £1 billion has been earmarked for new equipment and technology to help the electricity system operator operate a Net Zero carbon electricity system by 2025.

Across the North Sea, Denmark also registered a boost in renewables, announcing on Thursday that half of its energy consumption had been supplied by wind and solar with wind accounting for 47% on its own.

"We are halfway to the green transformation of the energy system," the country's grid operator, Energinet, wrote on Twitter.

According to Eurostat, the European union's official statistics agency, the share of renewables in the Danish energy mix amounted to 35.7% in 2017. At the time, it was the fourth-highest of all 28 EU member states.

The leading trio comprised Latvia (39%), Finland (41%) and Sweden (54.4%).

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