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Wind, sun and nuclear now generating half of UK's electricity

Low carbon power provided half of the UK's electricity between July and September, official figures show.

Renewables such as wind, solar and biomass produced a quarter of the UK's electricity in the third quarter of 2016, while nuclear power was responsible for another 25%, the Government data reveals.

Meanwhile coal fell to historic lows, contributing just 3.6% of the UK's power mix, down from 16.7% for the same period the previous year, as the polluting fossil fuel continued to decline.

The Government has said it wants coal power plants which do not have technology fitted to store emissions to be phased out by 2025 to tackle climate change.

Gas's share of electricity generation rose from 34.8% in July to September 2015 to 43.6% for the period this year.

In Scotland, where 42% of electricity came from renewables, low carbon power's share of the mix was more than three-quarters (77%), although coal contributed 16% of the power over the three months.

Low carbon generation in the third quarter was up to 50% from 45.3% in the same period last year, with nuclear and renewables on the increase.

Industry body RenewableUK's deputy chief executive Maf Smith said: "The Government took the right decision when it announced the phasing out of coal, and its confidence in low carbon generation has been repaid by growth in the sector.

"Renewables are now part of our energy mainstream, helping us modernise the way we keep the lights on by building new infrastructure for the generations to come.

"Wind is playing a central role as a reliable part of our new modern energy system, delivering reliable low carbon power at low cost."

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) said: "We have made a firm commitment to reducing the UK's carbon emissions, and these statistics show that we are doing exactly that.

"Nearly £52 billion has been invested in renewables in the UK since 2010, and just last month we reiterated our commitment to spend a further £730 million per year supporting new renewable projects over the course of this parliament."

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