Renewable electricity generation sets new Scottish and British records

UK national breakdown of on- and off-shore wind power
UK national breakdown of on- and off-shore wind power; Scotland’s share is shaded pink; England is shaded dark blue

Low carbon electricity’s share of British electricity generation reached a record high of 53.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2017 compared to 46.7 per cent in the same period last year.

The share of electricity generation from renewable-only energy was also at a record high of 29.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2017 – up 4.4% on the share in 2016 Q2, reflecting both increased wind capacity and wind speeds.

Of electricity generated in the second quarter of 2017, gas accounted for 41.3 per cent, whilst coal accounted for a record low of only 2.1 per cent.

Nuclear generation accounted for 23.6 per cent of total electricity generated in the second quarter of 2017.

Scotland had 40%of the UK’s wind capacity and 33% of the output in 2Q2017. Of Scotland’s wind capacity, 97 per cent was from onshore wind, up one percentage point on 2015; this comprises 3,141 sites, including the Whitelee turbine-farm near Glasgow, which at 539 MW is Britain’s biggest such generator.

The new figures published by the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy also show that Scotland continues to lead the way in renewables, delivering the equivalent of 54% of Scotland’s gross electricity consumption in 2016.

Scotland generated approximately 24% of total UK renewable electricity in 2016.

Total energy consumption in 2015 was 15.4% lower than in 2005-2007, exceeding the Scottish Government’s 12% energy consumption reduction target for 2020. And 17.8% of total Scottish energy consumption came from renewable sources, which is an increase of 2.6 percentage points from 2014.

Meanwhile, the average 2016 standard electricity bill in cash terms across all payment types increased by £2 (0.4 per cent) since 2015, to £586.

The average 2016 gas bill across all payment types decreased by £63 (8.9 per cent) since 2015, to £650.

These bills are based on standard consumptions of 3,800kWh per year for electricity and 15,000kWh per year for gas

Switching rates increased in Q2 2017, up by 16 per cent compared to the levels of a year earlier for electricity and up by 20 per cent for gas, based on data provided by OFGEM.

An average of 410,000 households per month switched electricity supplier, with 320,000 households per month switching their gas supplier in the quarter.

A spokesman for Renewable UK commented: “It’s terrific to see that nearly a third of the UK’s electricity is now being generated by renewables, with wind power leading the way. The UK’s renewable energy sector is an industrial success story, attracting investment, creating new jobs, and powering our economy.

“Onshore wind performed particularly well, with generation increasing by 50% compared to the same period last year. Onshore wind is the cheapest form of new power plant, so it plays an absolutely crucial role in keeping consumer bills down.”

Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, commented: “The recent Energy Trends data shows an increase in low carbon generation, with our dependence on fossil fuels diminishing. This is good news and shows clearly why a balanced mix of energy sources is good for decarbonisation as well as energy security.

 “With two thirds of the UK’s currently dispatchable generation capacity due to retire by 2030, including all but one of the current nuclear fleet, the UK will need the full range of low carbon technologies to provide the reliable, secure and readily available power for homes, businesses and public services.”

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29 Sept 2017

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