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UK Electricity Generation from Renewables Reached new High in 2018

August 08, 2019
Author: John Greene

Per a new report released by the U.K. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), renewable sources of energy fueled a record 33 percent of the UK’s electricity generation in 2018, which was up 3.8 percent from the previous year. Total renewable generation capacity grew 10 percent to 44.3 GW.

According to official data published in the Digest of UK Energy Statistics 2019 (DUKES), primary energy production in the UK increased 2.9 percent year-over-year (YoY) in 2018. A press release announcing the new report notes that “The rise was driven by growth in output from primary oil, wind, solar and biomass. Overall fossil fuel growth increased, but with coal output falling to a record low level. Final energy consumption rose by 1.1 per cent, as demand for heating increased during the ‘Beast from the East’ weather storm in February and March. On a temperature adjusted basis, final energy consumption rose by 0.2 per cent.”

The BEIS estimates that 2018 emissions of carbon dioxide fell by 9.1 million metric tons to 364.1 million metric tons, a decrease of 2.4 percent. The reduction is attributed to changes in the fuel mix used for electricity generation.

Other statistics on UK electricity consumption and generation from the report include:

  • Due to a decrease in demand, there was a 0.3 percent drop in the total supply of electricity in the UK in 2018 to 352 TWh. Final consumption of electricity was stable at 300 TWh, its lowest level since 1995.

  • Coal-fired electricity generation continued to decline, falling below a quarter of its 2015 level. Its share fell from 22 percent in 2015 to 5.1 percent in 2018 as the carbon price increase in April 2015 made coal generation more expensive.

  • Gas-fueled electricity inched down from 40.4 percent in 2017 to a 39.5 percent share of generation in 2018. Nuclear energy’s share fell to 19.5 percent due to maintenance and outages.

  • Electricity generated from all renewable sources in the UK in 2018 increased by 11 percent to a record 110 TWh. Generation from onshore and offshore wind increased by 5.2 percent and 28 percent, respectively, and generation from solar rose by 12 percent. Hydro generation dropped 7.0 percent.


DUKESSOURCE: Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics (DUKES), U.K. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy


In 2018, the UK derived 19 percent of its primary energy from low-carbon sources, with 39 percent coming from nuclear power. The second largest component of low-carbon was bioenergy, accounting for 37 percent of total low-carbon energy sources. Energy supply from biofuels increased by 11 percent with additional use of anaerobic digestion, wood pellets and energy from waste.  “Generation from plant biomass increased by 15 percent, partly due to new plants being converted from coal to biomass at Lynemouth and Drax.”


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