UK domestic emissions fall 3.6% as renewables take record generation share

26th March 2020 | Residential Energy

The UK’s domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions underwent a 3.6% year-on-year fall in 2019 – during which time renewable energy rose to a record 36.9% share of electricity generation. That is according to the latest UK energy statistics and provisional GHG emissions figures, published 26 March by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The GHG emissions figures report accounts for all emissions generated within the UK’s borders. It states that emissions from territorial sources in 2019 stood at 435.2 MtCO2e – 3.6% less than in 2018 and 45.2% less than in 1990. As expected, the majority of the reductions on both a year-on-year and longer-term basis can be attributed to decarbonisation of the UK’s power sector.


Between 2018 and 2019, emissions from the UK’s power sector decreased by 13.2%. The period saw the closure of two major coal-fired power plants – Cottam and Fiddlers Ferry – as their respective owners EDF and SSE prepared for the UK Government’s coal phase-out deadline. This deadline was recently moved forward from 2025 to 2024, in recognition of both the UK’s position as COP26 host and of global market challenges for fossil fuels. 2019 also saw 3GW of renewable electricity generation capacity added in the UK, BEIS’s separate energy statistics release reveals.

This, compounded by favourable generation conditions and a 1.9% year-on-year fall in energy consumption, pushed the share of electricity generation accounted for by renewables to a record 36.9%. The broad remainder of generation was accounted for by gas (40.9%) and nuclear (17.4%). Energy and Clean Growth Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said the new data evidences “extraordinary progress”.

“With record-breaking levels of renewable electricity on the grid, we are well-placed to build on these efforts in the months and years ahead, while continuing to support the economy through the coronavirus outbreak,” he said.

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