Wind generated a total of 79.15TWh of power in 2023, accounting for 61% of Britain’s total renewable output (128.98TWh), according to new insight from EnAppSys.
The energy data analyst’s GB electricity market report follows the publication of the National Grid ESO’s electricity mix report for 2023, which revealed that wind was the second largest contributor in Britain’s electricity mix last year at 29.4%, beaten only by gas which held the majority at 32%.
According to the report, renewable generation in Britain for 2023 was split as follows: wind (79.15TWh); solar (24.29TWh); biomass (22.29TWh); and hydro (3.25TWh).
In contracts, EnAppSys found that Britain’s nuclear power output fell to its lowest volume in years, decreasing 6.4TWh from 2022 to 38.2TWh in 2023. The energy market reporter attributed this decline to the closure of Hinkley Point B and Hunterson B in 2022, as well as of outages at multiple nuclear units in 2023.
Gas prices half
Happy news to suppliers and consumers alike comes in the form of decreasing gas prices throughout 2023, which EnAppSys noted was caused by a mild winter paired with high levels of gas storage across Britain.
This was reflected in the wholesale electricity price which saw year-on-year average day-ahead electricity prices fall by 54% from £204.03 in 2022 to £94.48/MWh.
Paul Verrill, director at EnAppSys pointed out that a few weekends of low consumer demand paired with high renewable output saw several periods of negative wholesale prices, namely on 2 and 16 July, and 29 October.
Decreasing wholesale gas prices also contributed to Cornwall Insight lowering its GB power prices predictions for 2024 by 12% to £113/MWh.
Reflecting the findings of an earlier report published by Carbon Brief on 3 January, Verrill also noted that domestic demand in Britain was at its lowest in ten years, with an average of 26GW – a 2% decrease from 2022. According to Verrill 2023 saw the lowest Q1 and Q3 demand since 2019, with Q2 seeing the “lowest demand for any recent year with the exemption of Q2 2020, at the start of the first COVID-19 lockdown.”
“Our report highlights the growing trend of Britain producing more of its power from clean energy. Last year average renewable generation reached a new all-time high of 14.7GW, contributing 46% to the GB generation mix – up from 13.6GW in 2022,” added Verrill.
“This increase reflected rising levels of installed generation capacity including the large Seagreen offshore wind project which became fully operational October 2023. The Dogger Bank project also began generating electricity late in the year, though not at sufficient levels to influence 2023 statistics; this is likely to be reflected in the 2024 figures.”
EnAppSys’ report joins an ensemble of recent publications celebrating one of the cleanest years for energy in Britain.