New analysis from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has shown that wind, hydro and solar has generated 13TWh since the beginning of October, saving 27TWh of gas that would otherwise have been required.
The non-profit research organisation’s Winter Power Tracker will measure the quantities of power generated in the UK, tallying power produced by renewables, gas and other sources.
Gas consumption data taken from the government’s Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) showed that in the first 40 days of the winter period (beginning in October), the level of renewable power generated in the UK has displaced the equivalent of 3% of UK annual gas demand, as well as 6% of UK net gas imports. ECIU has assured that these figures should continue to grow over winter.
Increasing renewable power can help ease gas supply concerns by reducing the amount of gas needed to be sourced and paid for. This would also allow the UK to increase gas storage reserves. Referring to data from the Renewable Energy Planning Database, ECIU has predicted a five-fold increase of battery storage capacity in comparison to last winter, bring the figure to 2.5GW.
Renewable power continues to hit new generation highs. On 4 November 2022, National Grid ESO reported that UK wind generation generated 20896MW in the 12:30 settlement period, contributing 54% of all of Great Britain’s electricity and breaking the previous record, set just the week before.
Head of analysis at ECIU, Dr Simon Cran-McGreehin praised the increase in renewable power generation, which he says would make the UK “less dependent on gas to play its ‘balancing’ role, insulating us from international gas markets.”
Turning to current pressure points, Cran-McGreehin adds: “The UK has a higher gas dependency than any country in Europe, using gas for 40% of our power generation and 85% of our home heating – coupled with the least efficient housing stock in western Europe.”
After being urged to support the scale up of clean energy to boost energy security, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has recently pledged to make the UK a clean energy powerhouse at COP27.