Back to newsroom

UK’s renewable electricity capacity up 38 per cent in a year



Renewable electricity capacity has risen by 38 per cent in the past year, while renewables’ share of electricity was at an all time high of 15.5 per cent in 2Q13, according the figures released today (31 October) by DECC.

DECC’s Energy Trends and Prices Statistical Release also reveals that renewable electricity generation was 12.8TWh in 2Q13, an increase of 56 per cent on the same period in 2Q12. The use of bioenergy has also seen a significant increase, with a 58 per cent rise in generation in 2Q13 compared with the same period in 2012.

Other forms of renewable energy have also fared well in the past year, with a 29 per cent increase in hydroelectric generation. Electricity generated from onshore wind rose by 70 per cent, a figure attributed not only to increased capacity, but also to high wind speeds. At the end of 2Q13, onshore wind had the largest share of renewable capacity (36 per cent), followed by bioenergy (25 per cent) and offshore wind (18 per cent).

The increase in use of renewables coincides with a fall in oil production (down by 18.6 per cent) and gas production (down by nine per cent). The low carbon share of electricity generation by Major Power Producers rose by three percentage points in between 2Q12 and 2Q13 to 34 per cent.

In 2Q13, 127MW of capacity joined the Feed in Tariff scheme, increasing the confirmed total by 7.1 per cent, to 1,918MW, approximately 9.8 per cent of all renewable installed capacity. Of this increase, sub-4kW retrofitted solar PVs contributed 56MW.

In 2Q13, net import dependency rose to 51.4 per cent, up 9.6 percentage points from 2Q12. This rise was due to rise in imports of petroleum products which were up by 16.8 per cent while there was a reduction in their exports of 7.8 per cent. Imports of gas were up by 8.7 per cent while exports were down 9.8 per cent.

In 2Q13 fossil fuel dependency was 85.9 per cent, down 0.6 percentage points from 2Q12.

Total energy production was 9.4 per cent lower than in Q2 2013. In Q2 2013, the annual growth rate of UK production was -9.4 per cent. This was mainly the result of a fall in oil production due to general decline and maintenance activity. There were also large falls in nuclear production and coal extraction.

A spokesperson for the Renewable Energy Association (REA) said: "Tilbury was the largest biomass power plant in the world, 750MW. Its closure on 13th August made a big dent in our energy security, renewable energy share and decarbonisation objectives.

"Renewable energy overall (including heat and transport) needs to grow by 16 per cent year-on-year to meet our 2020 RE targets. We’re falling short of that growth rate at present. This isn’t just about targets though. We need new generating capacity to keep margins healthy from now to 2020 – and nuclear, CCS and shale gas can’t help with that! Only biomass, wind, solar and waste to energy plants can be built quickly enough. So we need to get back that broad political commitment to green infrastructure, along with unequivocal investor reassurance from Government in light of the current political uncertainty, which is increasing the cost of capital for industry and hence the cost of energy for consumers.

"Unfortunately renewable heat statistics are only published annually – we hope to see growth in this sector pick-up next year with adjustments to the non-domestic scheme and the launch of the domestic scheme."