Electricity generation in the UK fell to 335TWh in 2018 – the lowest level since 1994 – according to new research from Carbon Brief.

The analysis, based on figures from BM Reports, Sheffield Solar and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), also found that renewables accounted for a third (33 per cent) of total generation during the year.

According to Carbon Brief, the amount of electricity generated per person has decreased by almost a quarter (24 per cent) since 2005 – reaching the lowest level in 34 years during 2018.

The website said annual generation would have been 103TWh higher if per-capita generation had remained constant. For comparison, yearly renewable output has increased by 95TWh over the same period.

Electricity generation since 1920

Source: Carbon Brief

More than half (53 per cent) of all generation in 2018 came from low-carbon sources – a new record. This was mainly due to substantial growth in wind output which rose 16 per cent year-on-year to 58TWh following a doubling in offshore capacity.

Solar output also increased by 11 per cent to 13TWh and biomass output by 13 per cent to 36TWh. Nuclear generation declined by 7 per cent to 65TWh due to an extended outage at the Hunterston power station.

Meanwhile, fossil fuels’ share of the generation mix fell to a record low of just 46 per cent in 2018. The vast majority came from gas, which remained the largest single source of generation (39 per cent), despite a 4 per cent fall in output to 132TWh. Coal output continued to plummet, dropping 25 per cent to 17TWh.

New energy trends statistics, released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on 20 December 2018, shows that renewables accounted for 33.1 per cent of total electricity generated between July and September.

New energy trends statistics released by BEIS on 20 December 2018 showed that renewables accounted for 33.1 per cent of total electricity generated between July and September.

Electricity generation by technology since 2009

Source: Carbon Brief