Spotlight on renewables – how did the UK’s energy mix change in 2020?

26th January 2021 | Commercial Energy

A study from think-tanks Ember and Agora Energiewende made headlines earlier this week, with readers celebrating the fact that renewables became Europe’s main source of electricity generation in 2020. The headline finding was that renewables generated 38% of the EU’s electricity last year as the share of fossil fuels in the generation mix fell to 37%. Nuclear power accounted for the bulk of the remaining 25%. Due to Brexit, the study’s figures do not account for the UK.

BEIS has not yet published data for 2020 Q4 but claims that the UK’s total renewable generation capacity grew by 1.2 GW between Q3 of 2019 and Q3 of 2020. In terms of generation, renewable accounted for 40.2% of generation between January and the end of September 2020, while the fossil fuel share, buoyed by coal, stood at 42.5%.


It is also worth noting that several coal-free generation records were broken during 2020, leading to the National Grid ESO dubbing the year the “greenest ever”. Coal provided just 1.6% of Britain’s electricity generation in 2020, down from around 25% in 2015. In total, the nation was powered by coal-free for more than 5,147 hours during 2020, up from 3,666 hours in 2019. The longest consecutive coal-free streak lasted for two months and fell during the second quarter of 2020.

With all this in mind, edie has decided to take a closer look at the trends which shaped the nation’s renewable energy sector against a turbulent year of events.

2020 is regarded as the first full calendar year of the UK’s subsidy-free solar era. The Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme closed in 2017 and the phase-out of the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) was completed in 2019. According to new analysis of BEIS data by Solar Energy UK and Solar Media Ltd, some 545 MW of additional solar photovoltaic (PV) generation capacity came online in 2020 – 27% more than in 2019.

More information available on the website below–How-did-the-UK-s-energy-mix-change-in-2020—/7028