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Q1 sees record year-on-year renewable capacity increase

Offshore wind capacity was up 53% year-on-year in Q1 2020.

Offshore wind capacity was up 53% year-on-year in Q1 2020.

In Q1 of 2020, total renewable generation grew by 30% on the same quarter the year before according to new statistics from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

This brought generation up to 40.8TWh, an increase of 9.4TWh year-on-year, breaking the previous record for quarterly renewable generation by nearly a quarter, marking the largest increase year-on-year ever. Renewables therefore generated 47% of the UK’s electricity, up 11.1% from Q1 2019, largely driven by increased wind capacity.

Capacity grew to 47.4GW by the end of March 2020, a 5.2% increase on the year previously as offshore wind capacity grew 19% or 1.6GW.

Wind generation increased significantly year-on-year, with offshore wind up 53% to 13.2TWh and onshore wind up 29% to 12.8TWh. Both improved therefore by almost a third compared to the same three month period in 2019, with wind overall generating 7.5TWh more than last year.

During Q1 wind contributed 30% of total electricity generation, partly driven by a stormy start to the year with wind speeds in February the highest in any month since 2000.

Solar generation fell by 11%, from 2.2TWh in 2019 to 1.9TWh during the same months this year. This was despite a slight increase in capacity of 1.3%, and was due to less sunlight hours compared to the relatively high amount seen in 2019.

Small scale capacity continued to grow between January and March, with 35MW installed, bringing the total capacity to 6.7GW from around 1.02 million installations.

These figures follow BEIS’s Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) released at the end of July, which showed renewables hit a new high in 2019, rising by 4% to reach 37.1%, and suggest a continuing trend in increased capacity.

This is being aided by falling costs, with the National Infrastructure Commission suggesting in its new report on 11 August that Britain should aim to meet two thirds of its electricity needs by 2030 thanks to cost drops and speedy deployment.

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