Zero-carbon energy sources are poised to overtake fossil fuels as the UK’s largest electricity source over a full calendar year. This year will be the first that fossil fuels make up less than half of the electricity generated, according to National Grid, following a dramatic decline in coal-fired power and rising renewable and low-carbon energy.
Government statistics show that, the low-carbon sources generated over 50% of Uk’s electricity in 2018. However, a general increase in energy production also saw greater use of fossil fuels.
BEIS Carbon Study
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) estimates that overall carbon emissions fell by 2.4 per cent, or 9.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, between 2017 and 2018 mainly due to the changes in the fuel mix used for electricity generation. This is consistent with recent trends that show the UK’s carbon emissions falling by two-fifthssince 1990.
However, in March Carbon Brief warned that the UK’s progress was slowing. It expressed concern that the falls in carbon production would not be sustained.
Primary Energy Source
The UK obtained 19% of its primary energy from low-carbon sources last year, with 39% of this from nuclear power. But this was 7% lower than in 2017. Consequently due to outages at Dungeness B and Hunterston B towards the end of 2018. Nuclear capacity was broadly the same as in 2017, at 9.3 GW.
Renewables such as on and offshore wind, solar and biomass generated a record one-third of power last year, up from 29.2 per cent in 2017, the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) reveals.
The share of power generation from low-carbon technology including renewables and nuclear reactors rose to a record 52.6 per cent last year, up 2.6 percentage points on 2017, the figures show.
The need for extra heating during February and March 2018 following the so-called ‘Beasts from the East’ spell of extremely cold weather blamed the rise in energy usage.
The total of all renewable electricity sources provided for 14.9% of the electricity generated in the United Kingdom in 2013, reaching 53.7 TWh of electricity generated.
Renewables capacity has seen a significant increase. The installed capacity increasing by roughly 18.5 times the capacity in 1996 to 44.3 GW in 2018. This is as a result of an increase in installed renewable capacity. Electricity generated from renewable sources increased by 11% between 2017 and 2018 to a record 110.0 TWh. Renewable energy accounted for a record 33.0% of electricity generated in the UK during 2018. This is 3.8 percentage points higher than 2017. In 2018 11.0% of final energy consumption was from renewable sources; this is up from 9.9% in 2017.