Government’s annual “energy bible” highlights record wind power output

The government’s latest annual energy statistics show that renewable energy is consolidating its central role as a mainstream power source for homes, offices and factories.

The figures published in the energy sector’s “bible” – the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) – confirm that 29.3% of the UK’s electricity was generated from renewables in 2017– up from 24.5% in 2016. 

Half of this came from wind alone, which provided 14.8% of the UK’s power (8.6% from onshore wind and 6.2% from offshore) – up from 11% in 2016.

 The publication also confirms that the carbon intensity of the UK’s power supply has fallen to record low levels. 

On average, a kilowatt hour of electricity generated last year produced 225 grams of C02, down from 483g in 2012. This reduction has been driven by a huge reduction in use of coal and the rapid growth of zero carbon renewables.

The contribution of onshore wind grew by 39% in 2017, while offshore wind grew by 27%. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which published the figures, said this was due to increases in capacity, greater load factors and higher wind speeds.

Energy UK chief executive Lawrence Slade, commented: “These figures underline just how rapidly the energy sector is transforming with low carbon sources providing the majority of electricity generation last year, bringing benefits for consumers, the economy and the environment. 

“Such extraordinary progress in such a short space of time shows what can be done with a clear policy direction and the right framework to encourage investment and innovation.

“We welcome recent announcements from the Government on future Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions and the Crown Estate on potentially expanding offshore wind sites. 

“But we want to go further and faster and achieve greater benefits, as outlined in our recent paper on the future of the Electricity Market Reform (EMR) programme. And if we are to make the transition to low carbon at the lowest cost we must ensure there is an effective route to market for solar and onshore wind.”     

A spokesman for Renewable UK commented; “While it’s great to see that the UK’s cheapest power source, onshore wind, is making such a significant contribution to the nation’s power needs, it is baffling that government is still excluding new onshore wind projects from the market place.”

Read the full report; BEIS’s DUKES 2018 report 

27 Jul 2018

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