UK renewables power on

29th June 2012


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Renewable technologies generated 11% of the UK's electricity in the first three months of 2012, a 39% increase year-on-year, as gas generation dropped to a 14-year low

The latest energy statistics from DECC reveal that the generating capacity of the UK’s renewable sector grew by one-third during 2011 and has continued to increase in the first quarter of 2012.

According to the figures, favourable weather conditions and greater numbers of renewable installations mean that wind turbines generated 50% more electricity in the first three months of this year than in 2011. Over the same period, hydro-powered stations generated 43% more and electricity produced by bioenergy was up 21%.

Renewable technologies are now producing 11% of the UK’s total electricity, up from just 8% 12 months ago, with wind alone generating enough electricity to power 20% of the UK’s homes.

Meanwhile, high gas prices saw the amount of electricity generated by gas fall dramatically, with gas-powered stations generating just 27% of the UK’s total electricity compared to 37% a year ago. Fuel costs also helped to boost coal-fired plants’ market share from 34% in 2011 to 42% in the first quarter of 2012.

Energy minister Charles Hendry said: “Alongside a 36% increase in renewables capacity in the last 12 months, [the statistics] show that the UK is powering forward on clean and secure energy and is clearly a very attractive place to invest.”

Data from DECC also reveal that total electricity consumption fell by 2.3% at the beginning of 2012. The greatest fall in demand came from the industrial sector, which used 8.6% less electricity. Consumption by the service sector was up by 3.1%, however.

The changes in demand could in part be driven by rising costs, as DECC confirmed electricity prices for industry rose 6% during 2011, alongside a 11% hike in coal prices and a 21% jump in the price of gas and heavy fuels.

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