Provisional numbers from the UK’s Department of Energy & Climate Change show that not only did electricity generation in 2014 fall by 6.7%, but low-carbon electricity increased to a record high, as did renewable energy.
As can be seen below, electricity generated in 2014 fell by 6.7%, dropping from 359.2 TWh in 2013 to 335.0 TWh in 2014.
Electricity generated by fuel type
Specifically, coal-fired generation fell by 25.6%, dropping from 130.8 TWh in 2013 to its lowest level in the time series of 97.3 TWh, as a result of reduced capacity due to the closure of several power stations, as well as the conversion of a second unit at Drax from coal to biomass. Nuclear generation also fell, dropping 9.7% from 70.6 TWh to 63.7 TWh, due primarily to outages in the second half of the year.
Gas-fired generation rose 5.7%, due to lower wholseale gas prices between June and August, as well as a need to meet the aforementioned nuclear shortfall caused by outages.
Both wind and solar PV generation rose in 2014, increasing 16.6% from a combined 30.5 TWh to 35.5 TWh. The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) highlights an increased capacity compared to 2013 as the reason for this increase. Hydro generation also rose in 2014, up 26% from 4.7 TWh to 5.9 TWh.
Low carbon electricity’s share of generation
According to the DECC, therefore, low-carbon electricity’s share of generation increased from 2013’s 34.6% to 38.3% in 2014, which is the highest percentage share for low-carbon electricity in the last 18 years, a result primarily of an increase in renewables generation.
The UK has been the hot topic in the European renewable energy sphere these past five quarters, thanks in part to sustained investment into the renewable energy sector: A report published by the DECC earlier this year revealed that the UK had invested approximately £37 billion in renewable energy since 2010. Solar PV and wind energy are both skyrocketing across the country, including at least 4.4 GW of offshore wind, and over 5 GW of solar PV — with 2.27 GW installed in 2014 alone.