Renewables accounted for record 47% of UK generation in first quarter of 2020

26th June 2020 | Commercial Energy

Renewable energy accounted for almost half of the UK’s electricity generation between January and March 2020, it has been revealed. In total, wind power generated 30% of the UK’s electricity in the first quarter. According to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) latest energy trends data, published on Thursday (25 June), renewables’ share of electricity generation was 47% during the quarter, up from 35.9% in the first quarter of 2019. The proportion is also notably higher than the previous quarterly record of 39%, set last summer.

When other low-carbon forms of generation, including biomass and nuclear, are factored in, the proportion rises to 62.1%, up from the previous record of 51.8%.


BEIS attributes much of the progress made during the quarter to the UK’s wind sector. Additional capacity was installed and high load factors were recorded due to weather conditions. On the former, BEIS states that the UK played host to 47.4GW of wind generation capacity by the end of March, up 5.2% on March 2019. On the latter, the energy trends report states that output from renewables was “35% higher and at a record quarterly high due to record levels of wind generation in February 2020, when extreme wind conditions were experiences during Storms Ciara and Dennis.”

In total, wind power generated 30% of the UK’s electricity in the first quarter, beating the previous record of 22.3% set in the final months of 2019. Offshore wind expanded more rapidly than onshore, given the historic policy context: onshore wind was only recently allowed back into the Contracts for Difference (CfD) process. Moreover, offshore wind benefits from a sector deal, but a similar policy framework is yet to be completed for onshore. Bioenergy production was also up 19% year-on-year, with BEIS again tracking increased capacity and higher load factors.

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