Renewables share rises as UK energy production falls

3rd August 2015


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  • Energy ,
  • Renewable ,
  • Conventional ,
  • Generation

Author

Marilyn Bond

The share of UK energy production from coal, oil and nuclear power fell in 2014, while the share generated by renewables increased, contributing to a decline in greenhouse-gas emissions, according to the latest figures from Decc.

The fall in nuclear output between 2013 and 2014 was 9.7% and was due to outages, while further mine closures resulted in indigenous coal production continuing to decline – down 8.1%. Oil and gas production together have fallen by an average of 8% per year, since 2000, due mainly to the long-term decline in output from the UK continental shelf.

Primary energy consumption was down 2.6% on a temperature-adjusted basis, continuing a trend over the past nine years. Final energy consumption also fell in 2014. Industry consumed 1% less energy in 2014 than in 2013, while the commercial sector used 10% less. There was a 14% reduction in amount of energy consumed in the domestic sector. On average, 2014 was a warmer year than 2013, contributing to a 15% reduction in energy used for heating.

Renewables accounted for 19.1% of electricity generated in the UK during 2014, a 4.2% rise on the previous year. Overall generation from renewables increased by 21% between 2013 and 2014. Bioenergy showed the largest absolute increase, rising by 25%. Hydropower also increased by 25%, mainly due to unusually high rainfall. Meanwhile, solar photovoltaics more than doubled from 2TWh to 4.1TWh, and wind increased by 13% to 32TWh.

Carbon dioxide emissions were 9.7% lower in 2014 than the previous year and 29% lower than in 1990. Decc estimates suggest that overall emissions fell by 45 million tonnes between 2013 and 2014. According to the energy and climate change department, the decrease in emissions can largely be attributed to a decrease in fossil fuel emissions for electricity generation and the rise in renewables.

Overall, fossil fuels remain the dominant source of energy supply, accounting for 84.5% in 2014, although this was a record low level. Energy generation from coal fell by 36%, as a number of coal-fired plants closed or switched to burning biomass.

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