Renewables form second largest source of UK electricity supply for first time

New official figures show that renewables now form the second largest source of UK electricity supply – outstripping coal for the first time

The UK government unveiled the announcement in its updated fuel mix disclosure tables, which outline the full sources of UK electricity supply between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016.

Renewables, which includes biomass, wind and solar sources, accounted for more than a quarter of the country’s power supplies for that period, outstripping coal power.

The figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy showed renewables are now the second largest source of UK electricity supply for the first time – contributing 24.3% up from 19.3% the year before.

Renewables percentage contribution to the UK’s fuel mix has trebled in five years.

Coal’s share of the fuel mix is the lowest it has been since the fuel mix disclosure began at 18.9%. In 2015, this figure stood at 26.7%. Elsewhere, electricity carbon intensity has dropped 19% since last year - down from 360g/kWh to 290g/kWh.

An average household’s electricity carbon footprint has dropped below 1 tonne for the first time – from 1.1 tonnes in 2014/15 to 0.9 tonnes in 2015/2016.

‘A myth’

Responding to the release of today’s updated electricity fuel mix and the news that renewables are, for the first time, the second largest source of UK electricity, Good Energy chief executive Juliet Davenport said: 

“The idea that renewables are an unimportant part of our energy mix is now firmly a myth. They are leading the way when it comes to cleaning up the UK’s energy, making up over 24% of our electricity supply, having trebled in the last five years.

“With renewables by far the most popular choice for the British public, this new government needs to look at this success and take the lead in keeping us on the path to decarbonisation.”

‘Biogas from waste’

Elsewhere, new official UK figures recently published show 40% more renewable electricity was produced from biogas from waste and farms in 2015 compared to 2014.

The UK government’s annual Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) also reflects growth in biomethane to grid with the generation of heat from anaerobic digestion more than doubling.

 Key figures include:

  • AD installed electrical capacity in waste and farming increased from 238MW in 2014 to 286MW in 2015
  • Electricity generated from AD increased from 1,019GWh in 2014 to 1,429GWh in 2015
  • Electrical capacity for sewage gas increased very slightly, from 215MW to 216MW
  • Electricity generated from sewage gas increased from 846GWh to 888GWh, and heat from 67.7ttoe to 73.1ttoe as the water industry continued to drive more efficiency from AD assets
  • Use of waste and farm AD for heat (on site biogas or biomethane to grid) more than doubled from 42.9ttoe to 95.5ttoe







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