An ill wind for renewables

Renewables provided the UK with less electricity in the second quarter of this year than in the corresponding period of 2009. And the UK’s energy production between April and June […]

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By Kelvin Ross

Renewables provided the UK with less electricity in the second quarter of this year than in the corresponding period of 2009.

And the UK’s energy production between April and June was lower than it was in 2009, while the country’s consumption went up.

Figures released today by the Department of Energy and Climate Change show that total energy production for the second quarter of 2010 was 9% lower than in the same period of 2009.

Oil production fell by 11%, natural gas by 5% and coal by 2.5%.

Final energy consumption rose by 2% compared to the second quarter of 2009, with industrial use up 6% and domestic use up 5%.

Problems affecting air travel by Iceland’s volcanic ash cloud saw the UK’s overall transport consumption of energy fall by 2%.

Gas was the driver of the most electricity, followed by coal, while nuclear’s slice of the supplier pie dropped from 20% to 16%.

Renewables supplied 12% less electricity than in the same period last year, with hydro down 32% as a result of less rainfall and wind down 11%, reflecting lower wind speeds. Overall, renewables accounted for 6% of the total generation.

Between April and June there were 939 sites in England generating electricity from renewable sources, with 436 in Scotland, 143 in Wales and 130 in Northern Ireland.

But DECC states that it is Scotland that can make the greater strides in renewables, predicting that it can generate 24% more electricity from renewables than England thanks to its hydro resources.

London had 16 renewable sites, while the North West had 150, with two offshore wind farms accounting for 50% of that region’s renewable output.

The DECC statistics also looked at Feed-in-Tariffs. At the end of the second quarter, 15.2 MW of capacity, across 2,771 installations, had been included under the FiT scheme. The domestic sector had the most installations, with 2,730, but the 41 non-domestic installations account for 54% of the overall installed capacity. Over 2,700 (98%) of all installations were solar. Hydro had just four installations and wind 63. There were no anaerobic digestion or micro CHP schemes.