UK renewable generation increased Q3 2020

12th March 2021 | Commercial Energy

The UK government released data on electricity generation during Q3 2020 noting energy consumption in the UK remains low as Covid-19 restrictions affect economic output, leisure, and travel. Total electricity generation was 73.2 TWh in Q3 of 2020, down 1.5% compared with the same period the previous year.

Fossil fuel generation totalled 31.1 TWh in Q3, of which almost all was gas. Gas remained the fuel with the highest generation at 30.3 TWh, an increase of 6.0 per cent compared to last year.

Renewable generation

Nuclear generation fell by 20% in Q3 2020 compared to the previous year, as just 10.9 TWh was generated by nuclear power, the lowest value in the published time series. During this time, maintenance outages started at Hartlepool and Heynsham 1, and continued at Dungeness B, Hunterston B, Hinkley Point B and Sizewell B. The fall in nuclear generation contributed to a lower figure for low carbon generation (55.1% of the share) than during the same period last year (57.6%).

Coal production reached another record low. Electricity generation from coal was down nearly 30 per cent on the same period last year and now comprises just 0.7% of total generation.
Renewable electricity generation was 29.4 TWh in Q3 2020, up 0.8% compared to the previous year. This included higher generation from offshore wind (8.0 TWh in Q3 2020), an 11 per cent increase on the previous year and in line with increased offshore capacity. Renewable generation comprised 40.2% of total generation, slightly less than the fossil fuel share at 42.5%.

Renewable capacity growth has slowed this year with 1.2 GW (2.6%) added since 2019 Q3. Half of the new capacity is offshore wind (up 6.2%) with the rest largely from solar PV (up 1.9%) and Bioenergy (up by 3.9%). In 2020 Q1, renewable’s share of generation exceeded 40% for the first time. Although the share remained above this milestone in Q2 and Q3, at 44.4% and 40.2% respectively, it remained below the record 47.2% achieved in Q1, the result of unusually high wind generation particularly during February when Storms Ciara and Dennis struck.

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