Renewable energy’s share of electricity generation hit a new record high in the first quarter of this year despite increased demand caused by the “Beast from the East” cold snap, according to new government figures.
Energy Trends, published yesterday by the BEIS (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) department, shows 27.9 TWh of renewable electricity was generated in the first quarter of 2018, a 10.2% increase compared to the same period a year earlier.
Total wind generation showed the largest increase, up one third by 12.7 TWh to 50.0 TWh.
Wind accounted for nearly a fifth of total UK electricity generation (19.1%), outstripping nuclear power (17.9%)
Offshore and onshore contributing 8.5% and 10.6% of the country’s power needs respectively.
This increased output meant that renewables’ share of total electricity generation increased to a record quarterly high of 30.1% in the first three months of this year, compared to 27% in the same period for 2017.
The increase was fuelled by an 11% increase in generation capacity to 41.9 GW and a 0.6 knot increase in wind speeds, which is line with the mean.
Of electricity generated in the first quarter of 2018, coal accounted for 9.4% and gas 39.9%.
Temperatures in the first quarter of 2018 were on average 1.9 degrees Celsius colder than in the same period a year earlier.
Overall electricity consumption was two per cent higher than in the first quarter of 2017, with households using four per cent more.
The price paid for all domestic fuels by household consumers increased by 4.8% in real terms between Q1 2017 and Q1 2018, and by 0.1% between Q4 2017 and Q1 2018, according to Energy Trends.
Hailing the figures RenewableUK’s executive director Emma Pinchbeck called for the government to heed the Committee on Climate Change’s advice earlier this week that the block on onshore wind development should be relaxed.
She said: “We hope ministers will listen to their own experts and take swift action to lift the block on future onshore projects”
Pinchbeck also called on the government to agree its sector deal with the offshore wind industry “as soon as possible” following this week’s similar agreement with the nuclear industry.