31 July 2014
RenewableUK says Government statistics released today show that onshore and offshore wind energy is playing the central role in the country’s successful transition from fossil fuels to clean renewables.
In its annual Digest of UK Energy Statistics, the Department of Energy and Climate Change says electricity generated from renewable sources increased by 30% in 2013 compared to the previous year, and accounted for 14.9% of total UK electricity generation (up from 11.3% in 2012).
DECC says onshore wind continued to be the leading technology for generating electricity from renewable sources, providing 32% of the total, while offshore wind generated a further 21%, making a total of 53% of all renewable energy from wind. This means that 7.9% of the UK’s electricity was generated by onshore and offshore wind in 2013.
Offshore wind generation increased by 52%, and onshore wind generation increased by 40%. The installed capacity of renewables increased by 27% (4.2 gigawatts) to 19.7GW in 2013, mainly as a result of a 27% increase in onshore wind capacity (1.6GW) and a 23% increase in offshore wind capacity.
For the first time, more than 5% of the UK’s total energy supply (electricity, heat, and fuel for transport) came from renewables – up from 4.2% in 2012 to 5.2% in 2013. The UK needs to meet a legally binding target of 15% of all energy from renewables by 2020.
Both the onshore and offshore load factors (37.5% offshore and 27.9% onshore) exceeded or equalled that of gas (27.9%). Load factors for wind in 2013 were the highest since 1998, due to high wind speeds, particularly in the last quarter of the year.
RenewableUK’s Director of Policy Dr Gordon Edge said: “This abundance of excellent statistics should make those in Government who have failed to support wind energy sit up and take notice. More than half of Britain’s clean electricity now comes from onshore and offshore wind. We’re now on course to hit 10% of electricity from wind alone this year.
“That’s why it’s particularly puzzling to see some politicians fail to back the cheapest and most successful renewable technology, onshore wind, at a time when a majority of voters from all the main parties are telling them that they support it. Many will ask why some Government Ministers act as cheerleaders for technologies like fracking for shale gas that can only deliver supplies years down the line, when wind is delivering here and now, onshore and offshore, keeping all our bills down by becoming more cost effective year after year.”
1. DECC’s Digest of UK Energy Statistics can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/digest-of-uk-energy-statistics-dukes#2014
2. The load factor is defined as the actual output from a generation source expressed as a percentage of its maximum possible output in a year. The numbers quoted are on an “unchanged configuration” basis, i.e. the load factor for capacity that was running for the whole of 2013.