Renewables dominate UK power generation in 2020
29th July 2021 | Commercial Energy
Renewables provided a record 43% of the UK’s electricity last year, up from 37% in 2019, according to UK Government statistics. Increased wind generation meant that for the first time renewable energy sources generated more electricity than fossil fuels for the first year ever in 2020, the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) found, which is published by the Department for Business, Industry and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Wind alone provided a record 24.1% of the UK’s electricity last year, with 13% coming from offshore wind and 11.1% from onshore wind. Wind generation increased by 18% compared with 2019, setting a new record in the annual quantity of power it produced, providing 75.7 terawatt hours (TWh), up from 64TWh in 2019. The report highlights the fact that offshore wind generated 29% more electricity in 2020 than in the year before.
Fossil fuel generation fell to a record low in 2020, providing 37.7% of electricity. Gas produced 35.7% while coal fell to just 1.8%. The report highlights the fact that there were several substantial periods in 2020 when there was no coal-fired power generation in Britain including a new record for 67 days between April and June.
However, growth in new renewable capacity continued to slow with just 1GW added in 2020, the lowest since 2007. RenewableUK CEO Dan McGrail said: “This is stellar news in the year that the UK is hosting the biggest international summit on climate change for years.
“It shows that this country is playing a leading role in the global energy transition, with renewables becoming the dominant source of new power generation – outstripping fossil fuels for the first year ever and setting new record highs across the board. It’s another significant step on the road to net zero emissions, but we need to move even faster and decarbonise the power sector by 2035. Today’s report by the Met Office warns that the UK is already undergoing disruptive climate change, so it’s vital that we take practical action at scale against the biggest threat that all of us face to our way of life.”
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