UK renewable energy generation in 2020 ‘outpaced fossil fuels for first year ever’

Through last year, renewables provided 42.9% of the UK’s electricity while fossil fuels generated 38.5%

The Big Zero report

Renewable energy generation in 2020 outstripped fossil fuels for the first time ever.

That’s according to new statistics released by the government, which suggest renewables provided 42.9% of the UK’s electricity last year, while fossils generated 38.5%.

The analysis by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy notes that is a record low for fossil fuels and compares it to the 75.4% share that fossil fuels held in 2010.

Offshore wind generation accounted for most of the increase of renewables in the electricity mix – that was mainly driven by the high wind speeds that occurred over the year, as well as new installed capacity.

The report also reveals onshore and offshore wind together provided more than half of the UK’s renewable power in 2020, generating 24.2% of the UK’s total electricity needs.

Total final energy consumption in 2020 was 13% lower than in 2019, whilst transport energy consumption was 28% lower, both at record lows as Covid-19 restrictions reduced the demand for much of industry, commercial services and transport.

RenewableUK‘s Deputy Chief Executive Melanie Onn said: “Today’s record-breaking figures, set despite the pandemic, show that renewables are keeping this country reliably powered up during the most challenging period any of us have faced for many decades.

“Another key set of figures published today shows that the UK’s offshore wind industry now supports over 26,000 jobs, mainly in coastal areas which need new opportunities. This will rise to over 69,000 over the next five years as our domestic supply chain grows rapidly.

“The offshore wind industry is attracting over £60 billion in private investment in this five-year period, helping to kickstart the Prime Minister’s green economic recovery and getting us closer towards net zero emissions on time.”

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