New low carbon era arrives for UK's electricity system
22 December 2016
Posted by: Oankar Birdi
New Government figures show that the UK has reached a significant milestone in the generation of low carbon power. For the first time, renewables and nuclear are delivering 50% of our electricity, thanks to continuing rapid growth. Coal use and fuel imports are falling significantly in response, as we balance our economy, cut costs and cut carbon.
RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Maf Smith said: “The Government took the right decision when it announced the phasing out of coal, and its confidence in low carbon generation has been repaid by growth in the sector.
“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. Wind is playing a central role as a reliable part of our new modern energy system, delivering reliable low carbon power at low cost.”
Today’s figures confirm that the UK hit a record high of 50.0% low carbon generation. Half of the UK’s electricity was generated from renewables and nuclear in the third quarter of 2016, up from 45.3% in Q3 2015. This growth is thanks to increases in new generation by renewables and a strong performance by existing nuclear generation. Renewables and nuclear are both providing ¼ of UK power needs. Wind remains the UK’s largest source of renewable generation at 43% of renewable supply.
In comparison, coal generation fell by 79% to a record low figure, while imports of electricity also fell to their lowest level since 2010. As coal use has decreased, increased use of gas, renewables and nuclear is making up the difference.
The contribution of onshore wind grew by 19.4% in the last 12 months. Offshore wind growth was slower at 3.8%, but with a number of projects in the pipeline or under construction this growth will be more significant in 2017.
For further information, please contact:
Maf Smith, Deputy Chief Executive, 0207 901 3025
The latest Energy Trends release can be found here