Renewables account for record-breaking share of generation

Renewables produced nearly 37 per cent of the UK’s power last year, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

In 2019, renewables generated a record breaking 36.9 per cent of the UK’s electricity. Of this, wind power contributed 20 per cent, a further record, with 9.9 per cent from onshore wind and 9.9 per cent from offshore wind.

This amounted to 32TWh of generation from wind in 2019, the most ever recorded. Renewable electricity capacity grew to 47.4GW by the end of the year, a 6.9 per cent increase (3.0GW) on a year earlier.

Across the board, low carbon generation increased in 2019, ensuring that renewables and nuclear together accounted for a record 54.2 per cent. Nuclear provided 17.4 per cent, while natural gas provided 40.9 per cent and coal just 2.1 per cent.

This growth in renewables have allowed greenhouse gas emissions to fall by 3.6 per cent from 2018, and almost 28 per cent since 2010. 

Energy minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, welcomed the news, in particular during a period of uncertainty in the UK caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.“These new figures show the extraordinary progress the UK has made in tackling climate change, with emissions falling 45 per cent since 1990. With record-breaking levels of renewable electricity on the grid we are well-placed to build on these efforts in the months and years ahead, while continuing to support the economy through the coronavirus outbreak.”

Overall, electricity production in the UK showed a small decrease in 2019 compared with 2018, with 324TWh produced across the year. 

Energy efficiency measures contributed to this, but were also offset by the transition to electric vehicles and electric heating, increasing demand in an effort to decarbonise.

RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Melanie Onn said that the figures showed how radically the energy system is changing, “with low-cost renewables at the vanguard.

“This will continue as we build a modern energy system, moving away from fossil fuels to reach net zero emissions as fast as possible. As well as wind, we’ll use innovative new technologies like renewable hydrogen and marine power, and we’ll scale up battery storage.”

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