A record share of Britain’s electricity was generated from renewable sources in the second quarter of 2013, according to the latest energy statistics released by DECC.
Renewable electricity generation grew by roughly a tenth (9.7%) over the three months, bringing its share up to 15.5%. This represents an increase of more than a half (56%) on the same period last year.
High wind speeds and increased capacity meant wind generation was 62% higher than in the second quarter of 2012, with onshore generation seeing a bump of almost three quarters (70%). Generation from bioenergy also shot up by 58%, partly because of two new coal plant conversions. Installed renewable capacity hit 19.5GW, an increase of more than a third (38%) on the previous year.
Coal accounted for roughly a third (35%) of electricity generated, 7% less than in 2012. High prices meant gas generated just 28.5% – a drop of 6.3% and the lowest figure in 15 years. Total generation stood at 83 TWh, slightly less (-2.7%) than last year’s figure.
Total energy production was 28.7 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) during the period – a 9.4% drop compared to the same quarter in 2012.
Home-grown power took the biggest hit, with primary electricity production falling by 14.7%, mainly because of a cut in nuclear power after outages at a number of plants. The reduction was offset somewhat by an increase in wind and hydro electricity which jumped by more than half (53.3%).
There was also a 14.5% cut in coal production following the closure of several collieries. Oil output dropped as well, with the industry pumping out 13.4% less of the black stuff because of maintenance work and a general decline. The 2.4% fall in gas output was lower than in previous quarters due to the partial re-opening of the Elgin fields.
Final energy consumption – the energy consumed by end users – was 1.5% higher in the second quarter of 2013 than for the same time last year but stayed the same when adjusted for temperature.
The statistics revealed switching rates amongst customers fell by 17% for electricity and 14% for gas. The figure for electricity was the lowest since records began.
DECC also released figures for smart meter installations, with 80,600 fitted over the second quarter of 2013, compared to 23,600 in the first. It brings the total number of installations so far to 107,500. The Department confirmed the contracts for the smart meter rollout earlier this week.