THE announcement that 24.6 per cent of the UK's electricity came from clean energy sources such as wind and solar power last year has been welcomed by Good Energy boss Juliet Davenport.

In 2015 24.6 per cent of UK electricity came from renewables in 2015, up 5.5 per cent on 2014.

Ms Davenport, chief executive of the Chippenham-based 'green energy' company, said: "The idea that renewables are an unimportant part of our energy mix is now firmly a myth. They are leading the way when it comes to making the UK more energy secure in the future

“With renewables by far the most popular choice for the British public, this new government needs to look at this success and take the lead in keeping us on the path to decarbonisation.”

Renewables outstripped coal power for the first time, the data published by the Government revealed.

In total low carbon power sources, which produce little in the way of greenhouse gas emissions, supplied a record 46 per cent of the UK's electricity in 2015, as the amount of renewables grew and nuclear generation rose after outages in late 2014.

Coal supplied just over a fifth (22 per cent) of power in 2015, down from 30 per cent in 2014, while gas continued to provide around 30 per cent of the UK's electricity.

Nuclear power's contribution rose slightly from 19 per cent in 2014 to 21 per cent last year, the figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy showed.

The amount of onshore and offshore wind turbines and solar panels increased, while higher wind speeds and more rainfall boosted hydropower - helping to generate more clean energy.

And the UK's biggest coal-fired power station, Drax, in North Yorkshire, switched another unit from coal to mostly burning biomass - most of which is wood pellets.

Overall, renewable sources - which include onshore and offshore wind, solar farms, hydroelectric dams and biomass - accounted for 25 per cent of the UK's electricity generation.

The total amount of generation capacity was down as several power stations closed, but some of the fall was offset by new renewables.

The Government wants to phase out polluting coal-fired power stations by 2025 as part of efforts to tackle climate change, but only if new gas plants can be built to meet demand.

Industry body RenewableUK's deputy chief executive Maf Smith said: "The Government took the right decision when it announced the phasing out of coal.

"Now we can see renewable energy filling the gap, replacing old technology with new.

"A quarter of Britain's power is now coming from wind, wave and tidal power and other renewable energy sources.

"Renewables are now part of our energy mainstream, helping us modernise the way we keep the lights on by building new infrastructure for the generations to come."

Across all energy use - including power, heating and transport - renewables accounted for 8.3 per cent of consumption, up from 7.1 per cent in 2014.

The UK has a target under European Union rules to source 15 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2020.