MORE than 10,000 megawatts per hour of renewable energy were produced in Southampton last year.

Figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy show 16,730 megawatts per hour (around 17 gigawatts) of renewable electricity were generated in Southampton in 2020.

This was 10% more energy than the 15 GWh produced the year before, and 23% more than the amount produced in 2014 – the earliest year of data available.

Across the UK, 134,600 GWh of renewable energy was generated in 2020, a 13% rise on the year before, and above the 9% increase from 2018 to 2019.

Renewables outstripped fossil fuels for the first time last year, representing 43% of total generation – compared to 37% in 2019.

Friends of the Earth said this is good for both the planet and the economy, as renewables are now the cheapest power source.

Mike Childs, head of policy at the environmental campaign group, said: “However, far too much of our energy still comes from climate-wrecking coal, gas and oil, and this has to change.

“The Government must rapidly accelerate our use of renewables to end our reliance on dirty fossil fuels.”

Of the nine different types of energy in the figures, offshore wind grew at the fastest pace and is now responsible for a greater share of energy (30%) than any other producer – followed by onshore wind (26%) and biomass and waste (24%).

Climate think tank Ember said huge falls in costs means the growth in offshore wind power is set to go "parabolic" in the coming months.

Phil MacDonald, chief operating officer at the organisation, added: "But the Government is still missing the opportunity of cheap onshore wind, and not doing enough to explore earlier-stage technologies like geothermal and tidal.

"To ensure a speedy phase-out of expensive imported fossil gas, there needs to be a stronger commitment to support innovative energy storage."

The biggest producer of energy in Southampton last year was solar power, which generated 10 GWh – 62% of the total.

This was followed by sewage gas, which is created by combining sewage with bacteria (38%).

Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said wind power is a "British success story" and a key part of the Government's aim to decarbonise the UK’s whole electricity system by 2035.

He added: "This year alone we’ve attracted five new offshore wind factories to the UK, bringing jobs and investment to our industrial heartlands.

“We are applying this successful model to nuclear, hydrogen, solar, and other renewables so they become the obvious and affordable choice, helping to end our reliance on expensive, volatile natural gas.”