New figures released by the Government show a record increase in renewable energy generation in the first half of this year, providing 46% of the UK’s power needs. Wind alone generated 26% of Britain’s electricity in the first half of this year, with 14% coming from offshore wind (21 terawatt hours) and 12% from onshore (18.9TWh).
Today’s 'Energy Trends' report published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) show renewables provided 45% of Great Britain’s electricity between April and June up from 36% in Q2 2019. The report states while overall demand was lower in Q2 due to the effects of Covid, renewable generation increased and non-renewable generation decreased during this period.
The Q2 stats follow the highest ever quarterly share of renewable generation (47%), recorded in Q1 this year. Renewable electricity generation was 70.9 TWh in the first half of 2020, an increase of 22% on the 58.2TWh in the first half of 2019. Low carbon (renewables plus nuclear) accounted for 62.1% of electricity generation in the first half of the year.
Coal production fell to a new record low of 0.5% in the second quarter of 2020, and accounted for just 2.4% of generation in the first half of the year.
The figures were published on the day the Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to make a speech to the United Nations (16.30-18.00 BST) saying that as the world continues to deal with coronavirus, we must look ahead to how we will rebuild, and how we can seize the opportunity to build back better. He will assure the UN that the UK will lead by example, keeping the environment on the global agenda and serving as a launch pad for a global green industrial revolution.
RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Melanie Onn said:
'Today’s figures show that even under lockdown we’re continuing make progress on decarbonisation and set new records. This sector has worked hard through the pandemic to keep the lights on, and we’ve even been able to expand by creating over 2,000 jobs and attracting over £4 billion in new investment during lockdown.
'So the Prime Minister is right to highlight the importance of a green industrial revolution in his speech to the UN today. The renewable energy sector is a powerhouse for massive economic growth throughout this decade and beyond, as we take action on climate change to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
'When the Government published its long-awaited Energy White Paper, expected later this year, we need to see the right framework in place to secure this growth. That means raising the ambition for CfD auctions for new clean power and supporting the growth of innovative technologies like floating wind and renewable hydrogen'.
Click here for 'Energy Trends September 2020'