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Record-breaking wind energy leads to decrease in coal and gas production

27 March 2014

RenewableUK says new statistics published today by the Department of Energy and Climate Change prove the case for wind power. Statistics were released covering both 2013 and the final quarter of 2013,and the figures showed increased amounts of renewable energy, with wind foremost, leading to coal and gas consumption decreasing.

Renewable energy increased to a record 15% of power in 2013, leading the amount of coal and gas needed to drop by 3% and 1% respectively. The report states: “Provisional estimates show that carbon dioxide emissions fell between 2012 and 2013; the key factor driving the change was a switch in electricity generation away from fossil fuels”. In 2013 electricity from wind power grew 40%, meaning it provides over 50% of renewable energy. Wave and tidal also saw an increase of 75% in power generated in 2013 compared to 2012.

For the last quarter of 2013 the figures are even better with a record for renewable electricity of 18% compared to 13% in Q4 2012. For that quarter onshore wind generation was up 64% compared to the same period in 2012 and offshore wind increased 42%. The strong wind energy performance meant that coal’s share of the electricity mix was 7% lower in Q4 2013 compared to a year earlier, with the gas share also falling to the lowest quarterly share of generation for at least fifteen years. However, the UK’s import dependency on fossil fuels continued to grow despite the lower production levels needed, with coal imports increasing from Russia and other countries.

RenewableUK’s Director of External Affairs Jennifer Webber said: “At a time when we needed it most, wind delivered. Onshore wind generation was up 64% compared to the previous year, and wind as a whole delivered over 10% of the UK’s total power needs across the quarter, proving it's a force to be reckoned with.

Wind energy's generation was the equivalent of power for 7.86 million homes for the full quarter.

By developing our wind resource we ease our reliance on costly imported foreign fuels and reduce the amount of polluting CO2 in our atmosphere.

In addition by using our natural resources we’re creating thousands of jobs, like the ones Siemens announced just this week.

The UK has a choice – stay in hock to foreign powers for our energy or invest in secure, clean renewables and build tens of thousands of jobs for British workers”.

Notes:

1. RenewableUK is the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries. Formed in 1978, and with nearly 600 corporate members, RenewableUK is the leading renewable energy trade association in the UK: http://www.renewableuk.com/

2. The full Department of Energy and Climate Change statistics can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/295362/ET_March_2014.PDF

3. Average household consumption figures for each quarter can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electricity-chapter-5-digest-of-united-kingdom-energy-statistics-dukes(section 5.2) The calculation in the release is based on wind generation in Q4 2013 compared to usage over the same period.

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RenewableUK is the UK’s leading renewable energy trade association, specialising in onshore wind, offshore wind and wave & tidal energy. Formed in 1978, we have an established, large corporate membership ranging from small independent companies, to large international corporations and manufacturers. Acting as a central point of information and a united, representative voice for our membership, we conduct research; find solutions; organise events, facilitate business development, and promote wind and marine renewables to government, industry, the media and the public. Our vision is for renewable energy to play a leading role in powering the UK.