The share of renewables in the UK’s electricity generation hit a record high of 31.7 per cent in the second quarter of 2018, while coal dropped to an all-time low of only 1.6 per cent.
Figures released today by the government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy also reveal that gas accounted for 42 per cent, while the nuclear contribution was 21.7 per cent: nuclear output was 6.7 per cent lower due to outages at several large reactors.
Renewable capacity was 42.2 GW at the end of the second quarter, a 10 per cent rise on the same period a year earlier, with over half of the annual increase coming from offshore wind.
Low carbon electricity’s share of electricity generation remained over 50 per cent in the second quarter at 53.4 per cent, compared to 53.7 per cent in the second quarter of 2017.
Onshore wind generation fell by 12 per cent due to lower wind speeds, although this was more than offset by an increase in offshore wind, due to a 2.2 GW increase in capacity. Generation from hydro fell by 4.5 per cent on a year earlier, because of lower rainfall. Generation from bioenergy was up by 8.9 per cent, despite a fall in generation from landfill gas.
Meanwhile, solar PV increased to a new record of 4.6 TWh, 0.9 per cent higher than the second quarter of 2017, which held the previous record.
James Court, Policy Director at the UK’s Renewable Energy Association, hailed the renewables record as “a significant achievement for the industry. Renewables have never been more affordable and accessible as they are now and this is reflected in the data released today.
“However, for renewables to continue to become more affordable and for the UK to grow its green jobs base, the government must continue to support the industry. Figures show that the lack of support is already having a significant impact on solar power for example which is currently the cheapest option for new power generation.”
He said the UK government “must introduce alternative support and unlock a route to market if the UK is to benefit from cheaper, greener and smarter energy”.