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UK powers up with renewables

According to a new report released by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), renewable sources of energy fuelled a record 33% of the UK’s electricity generation in 2018, which was up 3.8% from the previous year. Sources: Timberbiz, Forest2Market

Total renewable generation capacity grew 10% to 44.3 GW.

According to official data published in the Digest of UK Energy Statistics 2019 (DUKES), primary energy production in the UK increased 2.9% year-over-year (YoY) in 2018.

The rise was driven by growth in output from primary oil, wind, solar and biomass. Overall fossil fuel growth increased, but with coal output falling to a record low level. Final energy consumption rose by 1.1%, as demand for heating increased during the ‘Beast from the East’ weather storm in February and March. On a temperature adjusted basis, final energy consumption rose by 0.2%.

The BEIS estimates that 2018 emissions of carbon dioxide fell by 9.1 million metric tons to 364.1 million metric tons, a decrease of 2.4%. The reduction is attributed to changes in the fuel mix used for electricity generation.

Other statistics on UK electricity consumption and generation from the report include:

Due to a decrease in demand, there was a 0.3% drop in the total supply of electricity in the UK in 2018 to 352 TWh.

Final consumption of electricity was stable at 300 TWh, its lowest level since 1995.

Coal-fired electricity generation continued to decline, falling below a quarter of its 2015 level. Its share fell from 22% in 2015 to 5.1% in 2018 as the carbon price increase in April 2015 made coal generation more expensive.

Gas-fueled electricity inched down from 40.4% in 2017 to a 39.5% share of generation in 2018. Nuclear energy’s share fell to 19.5% due to maintenance and outages.

Electricity generated from all renewable sources in the UK in 2018 increased by 11% to a record 110 TWh.Generation from onshore and offshore wind increased by 5.2% and 28%, respectively, and generation from solar rose by 12%. Hydro generation dropped 7.0%.

In 2018, the UK derived 19% of its primary energy from low-carbon sources, with 39% coming from nuclear power.

The second largest component of low-carbon was bioenergy, accounting for 37% of total low-carbon energy sources.

Energy supply from biofuels increased by 11% with additional use of anaerobic digestion, wood pellets and energy from waste.

Generation from plant biomass increased by 15%, partly due to new plants being converted from coal to biomass at Lynemouth and Drax.