Electricity generated by renewables hit a new high in 2019, rising by 4% to reach 37.1%.
The Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) published today by the Department for Business, Industry and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) shows that last year was the first where renewables accounted for more than a third of total electricity generation.
This was largely driven by increases in wind, which alone accounted for 20% of generation made up of equal parts onshore and offshore. The technology set a new record for the annual quantity of power produced, generating 32TWh over the course of 2019.
Overall, renewables produced 121TWh of power out of a total 325TWh generated by all sources in the UK.
Together with nuclear, renewables accounted for 54.4% of generation, while gas generated 40.6% and coal hit an all-time low of 2.1%.
RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Melanie Onn said: “At a time when so many things seem uncertain, the consistent rise of renewables, keeping the UK powered up, bringing billions in investment in new energy infrastructure and creating highly skilled jobs all over the country, is a terrific success story we can all be proud of.
“Today’s figures confirm just how far we’ve come in the revolution in power generation; in 2010 less than 7% of our electricity came from renewables – now it’s 37%.
"But we know that to tackle the existential threat of climate change, we need to decarbonise not just electricity, but also heating and transport, where progress has been glacial. We need innovative power sources like floating wind, wave and tidal power, renewable hydrogen and a massive expansion in battery storage to get us to net zero emissions as fast as possible – so there’s no time to rest on our laurels”.
Electricity consumption fell in 2019 by 1.7%, bringing it down to it’s lowest level since 1994.
Of the electricity generated last year, renewables increased by 10% from 2018 and since 2004 this share has increased tenfold. Since then, solar PV has increased by 1.4%, hydro by 9% and bioenergy by 6.8%.
Today’s DUKES follow similar statistics from BEIS in June, which highlighted renewables' record breaking Q1, generating 47% of the UK’s electricity.