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EGEB: Green energy became the UK’s main power source for first time in Q1 2020

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Renewables became the UK’s main power source for first time in first-quarter 2020.
  • Oil producers make the largest production cut in history.
  • Electric and solar-powered vans are delivering fresh produce in India during coronavirus lockdown.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

UK green energy triumphs

In the first quarter of 2020, green energy became the UK’s main power source for the first time ever, according to new analysis by European energy insight company EnAppSys.

According to Current News:

During this period 44.6% of total generation was produced by renewables, with the rest generated by gas-fired plants (29.1%), nuclear plants (15.3%), power imports (7.3%), and coal plants (3.7%).

Green energy generated 35.4TWh between January and March. In first-quarter 2019, they produced 27.2TWh.

Consistently high winds played a major part in renewable power generation:

Storm Ciara, for example, set two wind generation records, with wind turbines generating 56% of the country’s electricity at 2 a.m. on Saturday February 8, the most at any one time, and accounting for 44.26% of power produced across the whole day.

Massive oil cuts

G-20 energy ministers met on Friday and agreed to “commit to doing whatever it takes, both individually and collectively” to try to save the energy sector. And on Sunday, oil-producing nations agreed to the largest production cut ever in order to stabilize oil prices.

Electrek reported Friday morning:

Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed to cut oil production by 5 million barrels per day each, for a total of 10 million barrels, following a meeting of OPEC Plus yesterday. The cuts will be gradually phased out to April 2022.

On Sunday, the New York Times reports, those figures ended up being slightly smaller than originally agreed:

The plan by OPEC, Russia, and other allied producers… will slash 9.7 million barrels a day in May and June, or close to 10% of the world’s output.

Analysts expect oil prices, which soared above $100 a barrel only six years ago, to remain below $40 for the foreseeable future. The American oil benchmark price was just over $23 a barrel on Sunday night.

Non-OPEC countries like Brazil and Norway have already been cutting production. It’s unclear whether the US made a formal commitment to reduce oil production, but it has agreed to help Mexico with oil reductions. But according to the Financial Times:

Dan Brouillette, US energy secretary, told the conference he estimated US oil production would be reduced by nearly 2 million b/d this year, or at least 10% of the country’s output.

The cuts are huge, but the drop in demand is bigger, so whether the reduction will keep the industry from collapsing remains to be seen. US oil companies have been laying off thousands of workers and ceasing production.

Electric vans provide food in India

  • Electric and solar-powered vans are delivering fresh produce in India during coronavirus lockdown. The vehicle was designed by the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR), and it is designed to ensure freshness of produce for at least two days as it delivers food.

The vehicles are being used in a large number of districts in India, where they procure produce directly from the growers and deliver straight to consumers.

The solar panels on the vehicle’s roof helps to control the temperatures within, in order to keep the fruits and vegetables fresh, and the solar energy can also be used for other purposes.

G Senthil Kumaran, principal scientist at the IIHR’s Post Harvest Technology and Agricultural Engineering (PHTAE) division, said:

The evaporating cooling technology in the vehicle keeps produces fresh, hygienic, and dust-free.

(Writer’s note: If I had a fresh produce e-van come to my house so I could buy fruits and vegetables that were sourced from the growers themselves, I’d be ecstatic.)

Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP

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Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.