Renewables dominate electricity generation

The Government’s annual energy report has confirmed that renewable energy sources generated more electricity than fossil fuels for the first year ever in 2020, with wind playing the leading role.

The Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) published by the Department for Business, Industry and Industrial Strategy, shows that low carbon sources (renewables and nuclear) generated 59.3 percent of the energy requirements, with renewables providing a record 43.1 per cent of the UK’s electricity last year, up from 36.9 per cent in 2019.

In contrast, fossil fuel generation fell to a record low in 2020, providing a third (37.7 per cent) of electricity. Gas produced 35.7 per cent while coal fell to just 1.8 per cent. The report highlights the fact that there were several substantial periods in 2020 when there was no coal-fired power generation in Britain including a new record for 67 days between April and June.

RenewableUK’s CEO Dan McGrail said: “This is stellar news in the year that the UK is hosting the biggest international summit on climate change for years. It shows that this country is playing a leading role in the global energy transition, with renewables becoming the dominant source of new power generation - outstripping fossil fuels for the first year ever and setting new record highs across the board.

A total of 312TWh of electricity was generated by all sources in 2020. Renewables generated 134.6TWh, an increase of 12.6 per cent compared to 2019. Fossil fuel generation fell by 15.9 per cent to 117.8TWh.The report notes that the pandemic reduced industrial demand for electricity in 2020 by 9.3 per cent compared to 2019, but domestic consumption increased by 3.9 per cent due to more people working from home.

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