Huge rise in UK renewable energy but coal is still king

1st August 2014

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Energy ,
  • Business & Industry ,
  • Renewable ,
  • Conventional ,
  • Generation



UK electricity generated from renewable sources in 2013 reached a record 14.9% - an increase of 30% on the previous year - but coal remains the biggest source of electricity, generating 36%.

The latest digest of UK energy statistics, published by Decc, also reveals that gas-powered electricity fell to 27% in 2013, while nuclear generation remained unchanged at 20%.

Investment in renewables continues to grow in the UK, largely due to government incentives, such as the renewable obligation certification scheme (ROCs) and feed-in tariff (FiT), which were introduced to help cut carbon emissions in line with legally-binding commitments.

Total UK electricity generated from renewables in 2103 increased from 11.3% to 14.9%, with offshore wind generation rising by 50% and onshore wind increasing by 40%. Both the offshore and onshore wind load factors – 37.5% and 27.9% respectively – exceeded or equalled that of gas (27.9%).

Launching the latest energy stats, energy secretary Ed Davey said investment in energy was beginning to pay off. “This massive investment in green energy is accelerating with 2013 a record year, with almost £8 billion invested across [a] range of renewable technologies. Having a strong UK renewable sector helps to reduce our foreign imports of energy, improving our energy security, as well as helping us tackle climate change and creating new hi-tech green jobs,” he said.

Total installed electrical generating capacity from renewables also incrased in 2013, mainly as a result of a 27% increase in onshore wind capacity and a 59% increase in solar photovoltaic capacity. In addition, bioenergy capacity increased by 27% due to new conversions of previously coal-fired capacity to biomass.

Despite the continued growth in home-based renewables, energy imports were up a further 2.3% on 2012 levels, with total import dependency now at 47%. Coal imports have risen largely due to lower international wholesale prices.

Final consumption of electricity was the lowest level since 1998 at 317.3 TWh. The domestic sector consumed the most at 113.5 TWh, followed by the service sector at 101.7 TWh, while the industrial sector consumed 98.0 TWh,

Energy consumption rose by 0.7% mainly due to the colder winter in 2013, but was down 0.3% on a temperature adjusted basis. Overall energy consumption continues to fall with total primary energy consumption declining by around 16% between 2004 and 2012.

Transform articles

National climate plans could see fossil fuel demand peak by 2025

Demand for fossil fuels will peak by 2025 if all national net-zero pledges are implemented in full and on time, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast.

15th October 2021

Read more

The Green Homes Grant is set to deliver only a fraction of the jobs and improvements intended, leading to calls for more involvement from local authorities in future schemes.

23rd September 2021

Read more

COVID-19 recovery packages have largely focused on protecting, rather than transforming, existing industries, and have been a “lost opportunity” for speeding up the global energy transition.

23rd September 2021

Read more

Half of the world's 40 largest listed oil and gas companies will have to slash their production by at least 50% by the 2030s to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement, new analysis has found.

9th September 2021

Read more

None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.

30th July 2021

Read more

The UK’s pipeline for renewable energy projects could mitigate 90% of job losses caused by COVID-19 and help deliver the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. That is according to a recent report from consultancy EY-Parthenon, which outlines how the UK’s £108bn “visible pipeline” of investible renewable energy projects could create 625,000 jobs.

30th July 2021

Read more

Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.

30th July 2021

Read more

The oil and gas industry is set to burn through its allocated carbon budget 13 years early unless decisive action is taken immediately, new analysis has found.

22nd July 2021

Read more

The UK will no longer use unabated coal to generate electricity from October 2024, one year earlier than originally planned, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has announced.

2nd July 2021

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert