Q. What was the UK renewable energy percentage in 2020?

A. The UK’s renewable energy percentage 2020 was 42 percent! 

The tide has turned in favour of renewable energy. A record 42 percent of the UK’s energy was  generated by renewable sources in 2020.

  • Coal energy reached record lows.
  • Fossil fuel energy accounted for 41 percent of the UK’s energy in 2020
  • The plummeting costs of wind power will further reduce dependence on fossil fuel going forward.

A UK renewable energy percentage first

Not-for-profit climate think tanks Ember and Agora Energiewende reported on this milestone achievement in their latest report on the UK’s electricity production. This marks the first year that renewable energy has overtaken fossil fuels as the main source of electricity.  

A year of low demand

Some key considerations include:

  • Lower demand for energy during 2020
  • Maintenance operations impacting Nuclear energy output.

2020 proved to be a difficult year for many consumers due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy. As a result, total energy consumption was down by 5.1percent year-on-year by the end of Q3 2020 

Wind leads the way

The record 24 percent recorded by wind power during 2020 points to the plummeting cost of wind power costs as a key driver for growth. Solar and hydroelectric power made marginal gains. According to Ember, this reflects a lack of supportive policy for the technology.  

The bioenergy risk

Bioenergy generated 12% of the UK’s electricity in 2020, posting slight growth since 2019. But Ember indicated that burning wood for power is a higher risk source of renewable energy, with potential climate and environmental outcomes. 

Gas on top, but for how much longer?

Gas energy remains the UK’s single largest power source. It generated 37 percent of the UK’s electricity during 2020. That said, fossil gas production fell 15 percent from 2019 to 2020 (having made up 41 percent of the UK’s electricity the year prior).

Nuclear output fell 9 percent year-on-year. Performance issues at the UK’s ageing nuclear reactors and a reduction in demand showed that gas is now vulnerable to increasing renewable production.  

The future looks bright for renewable energy in the UK

A changing consumer outlook

A report by Accenture showed that 60 percent of consumers have become more aware of climate change and its environmental impact since the COVID-19 outbreak. Fifty percent are likely to invest more in energy efficiency today than before the pandemic.  

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