Low carbon electricity generation reaches record high

22nd December 2016

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  • Mitigation ,
  • Generation ,
  • Conventional


Bryan O'Kane

Nuclear and renewable sources made up half of the UK's electricity generation between July and September 2016, while demand for coal plummeted to a new low, data published today by the government shows.

Statistics from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) revealed that low-carbon share of electricity generation increased from 45% in the third quarter of 2015 to more than 50% in the same period this year. BEIS said this was a record high.

The share of electricity produced by renewable sources reached 25% between July and September 2016, up from 23.6% in the third quarter of 2015. Offshore and onshore wind generation increased by 3.8%, and 19.4% respectively, while the amount of electricity from solar was 30% higher due to more capacity.

Hydro generation increased by 10.8% due to higher rainfall, the data shows. Overall, renewable electricity generation was up 4.3% compared to the same quarter in 2015. Generation from nuclear plants also rose, from 22% in the third quarter of 2015 to 25% in the corresponding period of 2016.

The proportion of electricity produced by gas also increased, from 35% in the third quarter of 2015 to 43.6% in the third quarter of 2016.

Meanwhile, electricity from coal declined from 16.7% in July to September 2015 to 3.6% in the same period in 2016. The demand for coal by electricity generators in the third quarter of 2016 fell to a new record low of 1.2 million tonnes and was 76% lower than demand in the third quarter of 2015.

BEIS said this was due to a reduction in coal generation capacity, including the closures of the Ferrybridge C and Longannet power plants in March 2016, and the conversion in July 2015 of a third unit at the Drax power station from coal to co-firing using biomass.

Overall, total energy production was 8% higher than in the third quarter of 2015. BEIS said the increase was due to strong growth in oil, gas, nuclear and renewables production, which more than offset the decline in UK coal production.

Source: DBEIS


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