New annual wind energy record shows wind power taking central role in UK’s modern energy system
28 March 2019
Posted by: Rob Norris
Government figures released today reveal that wind generated a record amount of electricity in 2018.
The provisional statistics, published in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s quarterly “Energy Trends” report, show that wind provided a record 17.1% of the UK’s electricity last year (9.1% from onshore wind and 8% from offshore wind, both new annual records). Overall, renewables generated a record 33.3%. Low carbon generation (renewables and nuclear) reached a record 52.8%. Nuclear provided 19.5%, with gas generating 39.4%, and coal generation dropped to a record annual low of 5%.
In 2017, wind provided 14.8% of the UK’s electricity (8.6% from onshore wind and 6.2% from offshore wind), and renewables overall provided 29.3%
RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Emma Pinchbeck said: “These record breaking figures demonstrate the unstoppable momentum for renewables, with spectacular global cost reductions in onshore and offshore wind, as well as battery storage, being reported this week by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
“Wind power in the UK is driving a transformation in energy, to clean, affordable and flexible power that works hand in hand with exciting technologies of the future like storage and EVs.
“We need Government to fully recognise that renewables are the future in our energy policy - from fair markets for flexible power and innovation funding for new technologies, to removing the obstacles in the way of our cheapest form of generation: onshore wind.
BEIS also released statistics today covering the final 3 months of 2018, showing that renewables generated a quarterly record of 37.1% of the UK’s electricity from October to December. The report notes that this was “driven by record generation from wind”. Overall, wind generated 21.5% of UK electricity in Q4.
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The latest Energy Trends document, covering Q4 of 2018, is available on the BEIS website.
Total UK electricity generation in 2018 was 334TWh. Renewables generated 111.1TWh, Wind generated 57.1TWh (30.4TWh from onshore wind and 26.7TWh from offshore wind). Solar generated 12.9TWh (3.8%).
These provisional statistics will be confirmed by BEIS’s annual “Digest of UK Energy Statistics” to be published in July.
In Q4, renewables generated 32.7TWh, including 10.1TWh from onshore wind and 8.9TWh from offshore wind. Total electricity generation in Q4 was 88.1TWh.
Statistics covering 2017 are available in BEIS DUKES, published July 2018
In 2017, renewables generated 99.3TWh, including 29.1TWh from onshore wind and 20.9TWh from offshore wind. Total UK electricity generation in 2017 was 336TWh.
More on Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s latest research is available here.
Their analysis shows that the benchmark levelized cost of electricity for lithium-ion batteries has fallen 35% to $187 per megawatt-hour since the first half of 2018. Meanwhile, the benchmark LCOE for offshore wind has tumbled by 24%.
Onshore wind and photovoltaic solar have also become cheaper, their respective benchmark LCOE reaching $50 and $57 per megawatt-hour for projects starting construction in early 2019, down 10% and 18% on the equivalent figures of a year ago.
More information on the high level of public support for onshore wind is available here