New Record Share for UK Renewables
According to figures released last week by the UK government, renewable energy represented a record 29.8% of the UK energy generation mix during second quarter (Q2) of 2017, 4.4% up on the previous year. This continues the trend set by the previous record in Q1 2017 of 26.9%.
Although the 22.5 TWh of renewable energy generated (up from 19.8 TWh in Q2, 2016) was the highest proportion of total energy production ever seen, Q1 actually topped it in terms of absolute generation, with 25 TWh. However, a drop in consumption meant the second quarter saw renewables take a higher percentage of energy generated.
Year-on-year, the extra capacity of renewables installed was mainly onshore wind, with a capacity rise of 2.5 GW. Solar PV saw an increase of 1GW. In total, renewable energy accounted for 38 GW of capacity in the UK – 12.2 GW onshore wind, 5.7 GW offshore wind and 12.5GW Solar PV, with the balance made up mainly by bioenergy and hydro.
In terms of actual electricity generation, the biggest increase was seen from onshore wind (up 50% to 6 TWh). This was 27% of renewable energy generated, while offshore wind and solar PV provided about 18% each. Bioenergy accounted for 34% of renewables generation, while hydro made up 3.7%
While renewable energy generation increased over the same period of 2016, final energy consumption fell 4.1%. Households used 12.7 % less energy then Q2, 2016, service sector energy demand fell 6.5%, and industry used 1% less.
If you add in the 23.6% share of power generated by nuclear, then the total low-carbon generation share also hit a new UK record, with the sector accounting for more than 54%. Meanwhile coal continued its decline and made up just 2.1% of the energy mix. Gas kept its spot as the main source of energy, with a 41.3% share, although its use dipped slightly.