Renewables generate more than a quarter of UK electricity, beating coal and nuclear - latest stats
24 September 2015
RenewableUK is highlighting new statistics which show the increasingly fundamental role that renewable energy is playing in generating electricity for British homes, offices and factories – despite mixed messages from Government on whether it supports clean energy.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change has just published statistics covering the second quarter of 2015, showing that from April to June renewables generated 25.3% of UK electricity. 42% of this came from onshore and offshore wind. Wind generated 10.7% of the country’s needs.
For the first time in a quarterly period, renewables beat coal which generated 20.5%. Renewables also outperformed nuclear which provided 21.5%. DECC said this was due to higher wind speeds and increased capacity, with generation increasing by 61.5% onshore and 70.4% offshore compared to Q2 2014. Overall renewable electricity generation increased by 51.4% compared to the same quarter last year. Gas provided 30%.
RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Maria McCaffery said: “Renewables have now become Britain’s second largest source of electricity, generating more than a quarter of our needs. The new statistics show that Britain is relyingincreasingly on dependable renewable sources to keep the country powered up, with onshore and offshore wind playing the leading roles in our clean energy mix.
“As the transition to clean electricity continues apace, we’d welcome clearer signals from Government that it’s backing the installation of vital new projects. So far, we’ve had a series of disappointing announcements from Ministers since May which unfortunately betray a lack of positive ambition at the heart of Government. If Ministers want to see good statistics like we’ve had today continuing into the years ahead, they have to knuckle down, listen to the high level of public support we enjoy, and start making positive announcements on wind, wave and tidal energy”.
1. DECC’s statistics show that in Q2 2015, 6.2% of UK electricity was generated by onshore wind and 4.5% was generated by offshore wind: UK energy statistics: statistical press release - September 2015 - News stories - GOV.UK
RenewableUK | Press Releases - Renewables generate more than a quarter of UK electricity, beating coal and nuclear - latest stats
This is the perspective from the Western Morning News front page today:
Westcountry now makes enough green power on sunny days to be self-sufficient
By WMNJBayley | Posted: September 30, 2015
The South West is self-sufficient and even able to export electricity on sunny summer days, the region’s renewable industry body has revealed.
The potential power of Devon and Cornwall’s surge in solar energy production is highlighted as new official figures showed that more than a quarter of the UK’s electricity came from renewables this spring.
So-called ‘clean energy’ has for the first time overtaken coal, National Grid the latest data has shown.
Regen South West chief executive Merlin Hyman said the Grid was also “waking up” to the fact that the region could serve local need and power other parts of the country when conditions were right.
“It is clear now that we are generating more at peak times and the National Grid are now waking up to that,” he told the Western Morning News. “Production has increased rapidly in the South West so on sunny, summer days we are generating more than we need and are exporting power back up to the grid.”
Renewables accounted for 25.3% of electricity generation in the second quarter of 2015, up from 16.7% for the same period in 2014, new power data revealed.
This means green electricity overtook coal for the first time, which fell to generating just over a fifth (20.5%) of the UK’s power in the same period. Higher wind speeds, increased amounts of solar panels in places like the Westcountry and a 19.5% increase in rainfall, mostly in May and June, driving hydro to record output, all boosted renewables. The conversion of a second unit of coal-fired power station Drax, in North Yorkshire, to biomass also added to this.
The rise in renewables meant that low carbon technology’s share of electricity generation rose to close to half (46.8%) of the total power supply in the second quarter of the year, despite a slow drop in nuclear output compared to the same period in 2014. Renewables were the second biggest source of power in the second quarter, between April and June, behind gas at 30% of electricity generation.
But the figures come following a series of Government announcements on curbing subsidies to solar and onshore wind, prompting concern it would stunt renewable expansion, halt falling costs of clean technology and lead to job losses.
Mr Hyman said the South West had embraced the technologies and now was reaping the benefits. “The region has really embraced renewables with a wide range of people from farmers to local communities,” he added. “The region has installed a lot of small to medium scale stuff – this is a massive benefit but what the Government is doing is putting that at risk, not by removing subsidy per se but by doing it overnight.”
Reacting to the figures, national trade body RenewableUK Britain is relying increasingly on dependable renewable sources to keep the country “powered up”.
Chief executive Maria McCaffery added: “The new statistics show that called for clearer signals from Government that it was backing new projects. If ministers want to see good statistics like we’ve had today continuing into the years ahead, they have to knuckle down, listen to the high level of public support we enjoy, and start making positive announcements on wind, wave and tidal energy.”
Following the release of the figures a new campaign has urged the Government to rethink cuts to small-scale renewables.
RenewableUK and the Solar Trade Association have launched People Power, which is calling for members of the public, as well as the thousands of renewable energy employees, to petition the Government to provide more stable support to the sector by writing to their local MP and harnessing the power of social media.
Gemma Grimes, director of policy – consents and intelligence at RenewableUK said: “This campaign is about sending a simple message to Government: don’t wreck an industry, which for the first time has given people the power to control their own energy supply. The Feed-In Tariff provides a lifeline to the rural economy, allowing farmers and small businesses to diversify their income and save on their electricity bills, especially during tough economic times. The Government’s actions are in danger of consigning this great work to the past.”
Westcountry now makes enough green power on sunny days to be self-sufficient | Western Morning News
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