A whole renewable world: Windpower and renewables smash electricity generation records
30 June 2020
New statistics released by the Government show a massive leap in the proportion of electricity generated by wind and renewables in the first three months of 2020.
The figures published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in its quarterly “Energy Trends” report show that renewables generated 47% of the UK’s electricity from January to March, beating the previous quarterly record of 38.9% set in the third quarter of 2019. The Government said this was mostly due to increased capacity and higher wind speeds in February.
Wind generated 30% of the UK’s power in Q1 (14.7% from onshore wind, 15.2% from offshore), beating the previous record of 22.3% set in Q4 of 2019.
Renewable electricity generation was a record 40.8 TWh in Q1, beating the previous record of 32.5TWh set in Q4 2019. Wind generated 26TWh, outperforming the previous high of 19.4TWh in Q4 2019. Onshore wind provided 12.8TWh, beating 9.8TWh set in Q1 2019, offshore wind provided 13.2TWh, beating 10.2TWh in Q4 2019.
Low carbon generation (renewables and nuclear) reached a record high at 62.1%, with fossil fuel generation reaching a record low at 35.4% with a sharp fall in gas generation. BEIS noted that this was achieved despite a fall in nuclear generation caused by maintenance outages. Coal production reached a record low in the quarter, down 26% on the same period last year.
RenewableUK’s Head of Policy and Regulation Rebecca Williams said: “At the coldest time of year, wind and renewables rewrote the record books right across the board, keeping our nation powered up when we need it most. This is the clean energy transition written very large indeed.
“As the Government works with us on a massive expansion of renewables as part of the UK’s green economic recovery after the pandemic, you can be sure that the latest records, extraordinary though they are, will be broken again in the years ahead, as we phase out fossil fuels to reach net zero emissions”.
BEIS said the impact of COVID-19 on energy production and consumption was relatively marginal for most fuels as the lockdown came into effect late into the quarter (23rd March 2020).