Renewables generated a record-amount of UK electricity in 2019

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STATISTICS released today by the Government show that renewables generated a record 36.9% of the UK’s electricity in 2019, more than half of which came from wind alone.

The publications cover new data for the fourth quarter of 2019 (October to December) and thus provisional annual data for 2019.

The annual figures, published in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s quarterly Energy Trends report, show that wind provided a record 20% of the UK’s power last year (9.9% from onshore wind and 9.9% from offshore wind).

Low carbon generation (renewables and nuclear) reached a record 54.2%, with nuclear providing 17.4% last year.

Meanwhile gas generated 40.9% and coal dropped to 2.1%.

RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Melanie Onn commented on the statistics: “Today’s record-breaking figures show just how radically the UK’s energy system is changing, with low-cost renewables at the vanguard.

“This will continue as we build a modern energy system, moving away from fossil fuels to reach net zero emissions as fast as possible.

“As well as wind, we’ll use innovative new technologies like renewable hydrogen and marine power, and we’ll scale up battery storage.

“Low-cost renewables are central to the Government’s energy strategy and our sector will grow rapidly in the years ahead, as our domestic supply chain expands, and we continue to seize multi-billion-pound export opportunities around the world.”

 

The key points from 2019 are:

  • Total energy production was 0.5 per cent lower than in 2018. This fall, the first since 2014, follows four consecutive annual rises, was due to rises in output from oil, bioenergy and waste, wind, solar and hydro being offset by falls from coal, gas and nuclear. The output from bioenergy and waste and wind, solar and hydro is now nearly 15 times higher than coal, notable as coal output was greater as recently as 2012.
    • Total primary energy consumption for energy uses was 1.9 per cent lower than in 2018.
    However, when adjusted to take account of weather differences between 2018 and 2019,
    primary consumption fell by 1.3 per cent.
    • Final energy consumption (excluding non-energy use) was 1.1 per cent lower than in 2018. On a seasonally and temperature adjusted basis it is estimated to have fallen by 0.8 per cent with falls in the domestic, industrial and transport sectors but a rise in the services sector.
    • Of electricity generated in 2019, gas accounted for 40.9 per cent whilst coal accounted for only 2.1 per cent. Renewables’ share of electricity generation increased to 36.9 per cent in 2019 – a record high – with 119 TWh electricity generated from renewable sources, as a result of increased capacity. Nuclear generation’s share declined compared to 2018, due to reactor outages and required maintenance.
    • Renewable electricity capacity was 47.4 GW at the end of 2019, a 6.9 per cent increase (3.0 GW) on a year earlier.
    • Low carbon electricity’s share of generation increased from 52.6 per cent in 2018 to a record high of 54.2 per cent in 2019, driven by growth in renewable generation due to increased capacity.

 

Other highlights from 2019 include:

  • Imports in 2019 were 2.1 per cent lower than in 2018, whilst exports fell by 0.3 per cent. As a result, net import dependency fell back from 36.0 per cent to 35.2 per cent.
    • Demand for oil fell for the second consecutive year as a result of reduced demand for
    transport fuels, notably diesel.
    • Supply of gas to the UK saw a shift in 2019 as pipeline flows fell to 60 per cent of total imports as volumes of Liquefied Natural Gas more than doubled. Exports remained low and 2019 was only the fourth year in the series that the UK exported less than 100 TWh.
    • Coal production was 16 per cent lower than in 2018, and at a record low level, due to further contraction of surface mining and lower demand for electricity generation. Imports of coal in 2019 were 33 per cent lower compared to 2018. Coal stocks were broadly similar to last year.
    • Gas demand in 2019 was stable on the year before at 876 TWh, with a small increase in gas use for electricity generation offset by a small decrease in final consumption.
    • Total electricity generated in 2019 was 323.7 TWh, a decrease of 2.8 per cent compared to 2018 (332.9 TWh). More than a third (36.9 per cent) of UK generation came from renewable sources in 2019, driven by high generation from wind, solar and bioenergy sources, while coal generation decreased substantially, pushing fossil fuels to an all-time low share of the generation mix at 43.4 per cent.

Energy Prices covers prices to domestic and industrial consumers, prices of oil products and
comparisons of international fuel prices.

The key points from 2019 are:

  • Average annual household energy bills (based on updated fixed consumption figures of 3,600 kWh per annum for electricity and 13,600 kWh per annum for gas) across all payment types were £1,294 in 2019, an increase of £60 (up 4.9 per cent) compared to 2018. Average electricity bills were £38 higher and gas bills £22 higher than the previous year.
    • Based on actual annual household consumption, combined energy bills increased by 5.0 per cent in cash terms (to £1,155 in 2019 from £1,100 in 2018) and increased by 3.1 per cent in real terms (to £987 in 2019 based on 2010 prices).

 

For more detailed information is available here