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25.3% of UK electricity sourced from renewables in spring

More than a quarter of the UK's electricity came from renewables this spring, official figures show.

Renewables accounted for 25.3% of electricity generation in the second quarter of 2015, up from 16.7% for the same period in 2014, and overtaking coal for the first time, which fell to generating just over a fifth (20.5%) of the UK's power in the same period.

Higher wind speeds, increased amounts of solar panels and a 19.5% increase in rainfall, mostly in May and June, driving hydro to record output all boosted renewables, as did conversion of a second unit of coal-fired power station Drax, North Yorkshire, to biomass.

The rise in renewables meant that low carbon technology's share of electricity generation rose to close to half (46.8%) of the total power supply in the second quarter of the year, despite a slow drop in nuclear output compared to the same period in 2014.

Renewables were the second biggest source of power in the second quarter, between April and June, behind gas at 30% of electricity generation.

But the figures come following a series of Government announcements on curbing subsidies to solar and onshore wind, prompting concern it would stunt renewable expansion, halt falling costs of clean technology and lead to job losses.

Industry body RenewableUK's chief executive Maria McCaffery said: "The new statistics show that Britain is relying increasingly on dependable renewable sources to keep the country powered up, with onshore and offshore wind playing the leading roles in our clean energy mix."

She called for clearer signals from Government that it was backing new projects.

"If ministers want to see good statistics like we've had today continuing into the years ahead, they have to knuckle down, listen to the high level of public support we enjoy, and start making positive announcements on wind, wave and tidal energy."

WWF-UK's head of energy and climate change Emma Pinchbeck said: "Renewables are no utopian fantasy - they are delivering here and now and could provide a far higher proportion of our energy mix.

"We know these businesses work. The issue now is whether they will grow. Ministers should jettison their ambivalence about wind and solar power and empower them to create more jobs and growth."

Juliet Davenport, chief executive of renewable energy company Good Energy, said: "Yet again renewables are really proving their worth.

"It's fantastic to see that a quarter of our electricity has come from renewable sources over a three month period for the first time.

"A future powered solely by renewables is possible but only if practical and pragmatic, evidence based policy for renewable energy is in place," she added.

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