Official: Renewable energy outstrips fossil fuels

Statistics released today by the Government show that renewable electricity generation outperformed fossil fuels for the first year ever in 2020 with renewables provided 42.9 per cent of the UK’s electricity while fossil fuels generated 38.5 per cent.

The figures, published in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Energy Trends report, show that in 2020, renewable generation increased by 11 per cent (13.8 TWh) to a record 134.3 TWh.

Onshore and offshore wind provided more than half of the UK’s renewable power in 2020 by generating 24.2 per cent (13 per cent from offshore wind and 11.2 per cent from onshore wind). Bioenergy was the second greatest electricity source, and although bioenergy’s share of renewable generation remained high at 29.3 per cent in 2020, it remains well below its share in 2009 at 42.4 per cent. Much of this decline is attributed to other technologies such as wind and solar’s increasing penetration, the latter being in response to the Feed in Tariff. Between 2019 and 2020, bioenergy generation increased by 2.1 TWh (5.6 per cent) with most of the increase being in plant biomass. With just 9 MW of capacity added during the year (a modest 0.2 per cent increase) and no weather effects relevant to generation, most of the increase is due to lower than expected generation in 2019 as there were several plant outages. Hydro remains an import, if distant, third behind wind and bioenergy.

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.”

Fossil fuel generation fell by 14 per cent to 120.5 TWh. Renewable electricity generation outstripped fossil fuels in each quarter of 2020 apart from Q3 when it was slightly below.

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