Learn About the Renewable Energy Percentage in the UK for 2018 and 2019

by | Jul 18, 2018

What’s on this page?

  1. Q. What was the percentage of renewable energy in the UK in 2018?
  2. Q. What is the renewable energy percentage in 2019 thus far?
  3. Update on UK renewable electricity in 2018
  4. How was this renewable energy generated?
  5. Where does most of the UK’s energy come from?
  6. Why the increase in the UK renewable energy percentage generation?
  7. Renewable Energy UK Update
  8. Renewables the top power source in 2020?
  9. UK renewable energy percentage record!
  10. This infographic highlights the UK’s renewable energy statistics:

There’s good news for UK renewable energy percentage in 2018! Here are the latest UK renewable energy statistics and facts about UK electricity production.

Q. What was the percentage of renewable electricity in the UK in 2018?

A. 33%!

Q. What is the renewable electricity percentage in 2019 thus far?

A. 37.4%

Between January and March 2019, renewables generation took a large chunk of the generation mix. It accounted for 31.2% of Major Power Producers (MPPs) electricity supply; up from 25.7% in Q1 2018. The MPP share of renewable electricity was 37.4%, passing the previous record of 33.3% in September 2018.

Renewables generation in January 2019 

  • 4.9% drop in renewables generation

Thereafter, however, strong wind, hydro, solar and bioenergy generation caused an increase in renewables generation:

Renewables generation in February 2019 

  • 14%

Renewables generation in March 2019 

  • 27% – record highs for MPP renewable generation
  • Wind power benefitted from the windiest March since 2008

Update on UK renewable electricity in 2018

Early in 2018, we reported how wind power generated 14 gigawatts of electricity for the first time, making up nearly 37% of the UK’s energy needs. The country also used more than two days without using any coal-fired power. This was the first time this has happened in more than a century.

According to EnAppSys, an energy market analyst, the second quarter of 2018 saw 28.1% of the UK’s energy being generated by renewable energy sources. This figure is in sharp contrast to the 5.9% generated in renewables in Q2 of 2010.

The new UK renewable energy percentage (wind and solar) record can be attributed to warm weather and high winds this season.

The latest 2018 stats have revealed that a third (33%) of the UK’s electricity generation in 2018 came from renewable sources; over half (53%) of UK electricity generation in 2018 was from low carbon power sources.

How was this renewable energy generated?

  • Wind farms: Continued to provide the UK’s highest renewable energy percentage. 9.5 terawatt hours (TWh) of power were produced by wind farms.
  • Solar farms: The record UK renewable energy percentage was also made up from solar farms, which produced 5.2 TWh of energy. Solar farm energy was boosted by spring and summer’s longer daylight hours as well as the hot conditions in June.

Where does most of the UK’s electricity come from?

Gas continues to be the main source of the UK’s power, with about 40.7% of the UK’s energy in Q2 2018 coming from gas-fired plants. Coal, on the other hand, produced only 1 TWh (1% of the overall power generation) due to high carbon prices. And for the first time, the UK has powered over 1,000 hours of energy without the use of coal.

 Energy Source %
 Gas-fired power stations 40.7
 Renewables 28.1
 Nuclear plants 22.5
 Coal-fired power stations 1.3
 Electricity imports 7.4
  • 40.7%: Gas-fired power stations
  • 28.1%: Renewables
  • 22.5%: Nuclear plants
  • 1.3%: Coal-fired power stations
  • 7.4%: Electricity imports

Update: Gas-fired power stations in Q1 2019

Coal plant closures and rising carbon costs and coal plant closures have resulted in gas-fired generation overtaking output from other fossil fuels for the first time in recent history.
According to EnAppSys

  • Gas plants across Europe produced 117TWh of electricity in Q1 2019
  • Compared to a combined 110.9TWh from lignite, coal, and gas-to-coal plants.

Why the increase in the UK renewable energy percentage generation?

  • New large offshore wind farms added significant levels of new wind capacity.
  • More solar installations.
  • Summer 2018 has been the fifth sunniest on record.
  • Higher wind speeds than 2017.

The UK plans to phase out coal entirely by 2025, and it looks like they are well on their way to doing so! In the meantime, the UK renewable energy percentage is expected to grow from about 29% of electricity generation in 2017 to 75% by 2030.

Renewable Energy UK Update

Renewable energy capacity in the UK has surpassed fossil fuels.  With the closing of coal-fired power plants, there are only six active coal-fired power plants left in the UK. The closures have reduced coal capacity by 25%.

So, yes, the proportion of renewable energy in the UK is increasing, but this cannot be viewed in isolation. The increased proportion can also be attributed to a decline in fossil fuel generation, leading to uncertainty in the UK power market.

Renewables the top power source in 2020?

EnAppSys predicts that if current trends continue, renewables will be top UK power source by 2020. Wind and solar have the potential to generate 121.3TWh or electricity over the calendar year of 2020, pushing ahead of declining coal and gas-fired power sources (forecasted at 105.6TWh of generation).

UK renewable energy percentage record!

Wind farms around the United Kingdom have been spinning furiously. On 28 November, 32.2% of the country’s electricity was generated by wind, accounting for more than any other single source of electricity.

  • Gas – 23.5%
  • Nuclear – 17.9%
  • Coal – 8.7%
  • Biomass – 8%
  • Imports – 1.7%

Britain’s wind farms hit a new high of 14.9 gigawatts. This is the first time this year that renewable electricity capacity overtook the capacity provided by fossil fuel-fired generators.

This infographic highlights the UK’s renewable energy statistics:

UK renewable energy percentage

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