Britain's renewable electricity capacity overtakes fossil fuels - report

The sun sets behind the Burbo Bank wind farm near New Brighton, Britain, May 22, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s renewable electricity capacity has overtaken that of fossil fuel generators such as gas and coal for the first time, a report said on Tuesday.

Britain aims to increase its renewable output and close its coal-fired power plants by 2025 as part of efforts to meet climate targets.

Available capacity of renewable electricity generation such as wind, solar and biomass hit 42 gigawatts (GW) in Britain this year.

This eclipsed the 40.6 GW available from fossil fuel generators, research by Imperial College London for coal and biomass generator Drax's DRX.L Electric Insights report series showed.

“A third of fossil fuel generating capacity has retired over the last five years – whilst the capacity from wind, solar, biomass, hydro and other renewables has tripled,” the report said.

This year Britain’s renewable capacity has been boosted by the addition of several offshore wind projects including the Walney Extension which at 660 megawatts is the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

Of the main renewable sources, Britain now has more than 20 GW of wind power capacity, 13 GW of solar and 3.2 GW of biomass, the report said.

Britain has a target to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent compared with 1990 levels by 2050 and has asked its climate change experts to advise on whether it should set a date to meet a net zero emissions target.

Reporting By Susanna Twidale, editing by David Evans