top of page
  • Writer's pictureKat Buckley

Beyond solar power: what other renewable energy sources are at play in the UK?

In recent years, the UK has taken significant steps to incorporate renewable energy sources into its energy mix. And while solar power might be the most well-known, it made up less than 5% of the UK’s energy mix in 2023. Here are some of the other renewable energy sources at play in the UK.

1. Wind Power

Wind power made up 29.4% of the UK’s energy mix in 2023. Most of our wind energy comes from offshore wind farms, with the UK boasting the world's largest offshore wind farm. Onshore wind farms in the UK are scattered across the countryside, particularly in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Wind power creates no carbon emissions and is not harmful to the environment. However, wind turbines don’t generate any energy when there is no wind.

2. Biomass Energy

Biomass energy made up 5% of the UK’s energy mix in 2023. It’s generated by burning organic materials, such as agricultural residues, wood pellets, and dedicated energy crops and can be used for electricity and heat. Biomass is a renewable energy source generated from burning wood, plants, and other organic matter. It does release carbon dioxide when burned, but considerably less than fossil fuels.

3. Hydropower

Hydropower made up just 1.8% of our energy mix in 2023. While it is a clean, sustainable and renewable source of energy, there is resistance to building more hydro stations in the UK as they are usually proposed for areas of natural beauty, and construction can be expensive. The topography in the UK also limits the potential for large-scale hydropower seen in countries with vast mountainous regions, Scotland is currently home to 85% of the UK’s hydro stations, most built in the 50s and 60s.

While the UK is slowly transitioning to cleaner sources of energy, much more can be done. Wave energy technology is still in the developmental stage but holds immense promise, and geothermal energy is a relatively untapped resource in the UK. 

The best way to push for change is to monitor the UK’s energy sources. Tracking our progress to net zero and keeping pressure on the government to go green is the only way to stay on top of the climate emergency. 

Join the movement! Download UK Zero, connect with others, and let's work together for a sustainable future.

The UK Zero logo beside a phone with the UK Zero home screen showing the UK's energy mix on the 11th May 2023.


bottom of page