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UK renewables output drops

EBR Staff Writer Published 28 April 2017

New provisional data released by the UK government shows that the share of electricity generated through renewable sources dropped to 24.4% in 2016 from 24.6% in the previous year.

The decline of renewable power generation across the country in 2016 has been attributed by the government to lower wind speeds, scanty rainfall and lesser sun hours.

Electricity generated by gas sources increased to 42.4% in 2016 compared to 2015’s figure of 29.5%.

The UK managed to decrease its coal-based electricity generation last year considerably from 9.1% to 22.3%. Between 2015 and 2016, the government data reveals a drastic reduction by 60% in coal power generation.

As per the government, it was a record low generation of 30.7TWh owing to reduction in coal capacity, coal site closures and also the conversion of a unit at the Drax power plant from coal to biomass.

Overall, the electricity generation in the country in 2016 was 338.6Twh which represented a decrease of 0.2% in comparison to 339.1Twh generated in 2015.

According to the Renewable Energy Association (REA), the government data shows an urgent need to develop new electricity generation capacity.

REA CEO Nina Skorupska CBE said: “As ageing coal and nuclear sites come offline and electricity demand is set to increase, the NAO estimates that we need to deploy 81GW of new electricity generation capacity by 2035.

“This extraordinary figure is close to the entirety of our existing power generation capacity. If the Government wants to be building at the lowest cost it should be building large solar, onshore wind, and biomass, which are arguably cheaper than new gas generation yet their continued deployment has been blocked.”

Although the electricity generated decreased last year, the data shows a decline in domestic power consumption by 1% between 2015 and 2016. This was despite the two years seeing similar average temperatures, which indicates a surge in energy efficiency as per REA.