Britain’s target to rely more heavily on renewable energy sources has suffered a setback after new figures revealed that power supplied from wind, hydro and other ‘clean’ sources has fallen.
The news is a setback for politicians who have pledged to end the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and slash global warming pollution.
The proportion of power supplied from renewable sources such as wind and hydro power fell 7.5% in the first three months of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009, according figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
The fall is a result of the dry winter that reduced power from water turbines, and low wind speeds, leading to the lowest absolute supply from the two sectors in four winters.
Experts also speculate that renewable energy suffered from a hiatus in investment, and from competition from cheap overseas gas.
For the first quarter of 2010, the DECC energy statistics show a fall in renewable power from 6.7% to 6.2% of the total supply.
Coal power supply fell, while nuclear and gas generation increased the total electricity supply by 1.1%, although consumption of electricity fell fractionally.
In the same period, the total energy consumption including heating fell by 1.1%.