Renewables Share Of UK Electricity Generation Hits Record In Q1’15

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New data released last week by the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change reveals that the country’s share of electricity generated by renewables hit a new record of 22.3% in the first quarter of the year.

The 2.6% increase on the electricity generated by renewables in the first quarter of 2014 was mostly as a result of increased capacity, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), which also noted that wind speeds were slightly slower and rainfall marginally higher, impacting wind and hydro respectively (see below).


Renewable electricity generated a record 21.1 TWh in Q1’2015, an increase of 15% over the 18.4 TWh of Q1’2014 (see below).

DECC-5More specifically, renewable electricity generation in the first quarter of 2015 was led by onshore and offshore wind, as well as plant biomass. Onshore wind generated 7,001 GWh of electricity, followed by offshore wind with 4,662 GWh, and plant biomass in third with 4,322 GWh. Hydro is worthy of mention, generating 2,007 GWh. Solar PV only managed to generate 761 GWh for the quarter, but let’s put that down to stereotypical England weather.

Renewable electricity capacity reached 26.4 GW in the first quarter, spearheaded by onshore and offshore wind, as well as solar PV. Onshore wind has a cumulative capacity of 8,850 GW, a 12.1% increase on a year earlier. Offshore wind has a cumulative capacity of 4,749 GW, with an impressive 26.2% growth YoY, while solar PV jumped a whopping 64%, reaching 6,823 GW.

These figures come at an important time for the renewable energy industry in the UK, which is currently looking to fight the Government’s own attempts to scale back its financial support for the sector. These increasing record figures could represent an important argument for continuing financial aid for the renewable energy sector, at the same time as the Government is subsidizing fossil fuel energy.

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28 thoughts on “Renewables Share Of UK Electricity Generation Hits Record In Q1’15

  • Presumably there is a typo in paragraph 5:

    “Renewable electricity capacity reached 26.4 GW” – OK (sounds approx correct):

    Onshore wind – 8,850 GW (Should that be actually 8,850MW? i.e. 8.85GW)
    Offshore wind – 4,749 GW (ditto above)
    Solar PV – 6,823 GW (ditto above, but also seems v high compared to the generation displayed in the figures – is this number correct? – really 6.8GW nameplate capacity?)

    • It seems to be correct. What is the reason for your concern?

    • I presume you are American?

      In Europe, the decimal sign is a comma; in the US it’s a decimal point. In this case, the figures are givem in European notation – as expected for data released by a European government…

      • The UK uses commas to denote thousands and the dot “.” as the decimal mark. As does Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and many other countries.

        Using the comma instead of a decimal point is a continental European (and other places) thing.

      • I believe Richard is a Brit.

      • Nope, I’m a Yorkshireman. Thus also English, British and European!

        I’m familiar with the European (French/German etc) notation of using commas as decimal points, but the switching between using the decimal point for 26.4GW total generation capacity to then 8,860GW for Onshore Wind capacity is extremely confusing.

        More so, since any report on the UK, one would assume, would use decimal points rather than European notation, as the decimal point is standard in the UK.

        The Solar PV numbers still look off, although I have since realised that it’s Q1 (Jan-Mar) generation figures and we had a pretty miserable, overcast start to the year. I’m very surprised that there’s 6.8GW solar PV capacity in the UK!

      • If commas are decimals do you not seperate strands of 000s for easy reading. Ie 1,000,000.05 is it just 1000000,05 cause I must say that is harder to read at a quick glance, pretty much have to count the zeros. Or do you maybe put a space after every 3?


          Lots of different ways for it to be done. It’s really one area where it would be good with some common standard.

          I use spaces if there is any need to have a separator.

        • Tes, we use space instead of commas

          • Tes is yes when ttyping on a smartphone

        • You still often see a dot to seperate thousands (so that’d be 1.000.000,05), but the more modern way to seperate thousands in continental Europe is with a space (1 000 000,05).

          I believe both notations are still considered correct, but the space is fast becoming the de facto standard.

    • “,” and “.” if only we could agree how to write numbers we could read them.

      • There is such an agreement, in the form of ISO 31-0.

        It says that both the comma and dot are acceptable decimal markers. Thousands should be seperated by spaces only, and never by commas as done in some English-speaking countries.

        • Thousands are seperated by points in German speaking countries 😉

          • Yeah, and in Dutch speaking countries too, among others.

            But collectively doing it wrong doesn’t make it right. The ISO-standard is clear.

  • This is great news!

    If they keep installing at this rate (if!) than the Hinkley bomb would be very dead in a two or three years.

  • Nice job. Looks like more solar would smooth annual output. It would be great if Scotland got the green light on onshore wind it wants to install.

    • Is there any longer a London veto? Rudd’s policy is to leave the planning decision with the local authorities, who are strongly in favour of wind in Scotland (national pride plus business rates.) There may be grid connection issues, especially in the Highlands and Islands, but these are technical not political.

      • (Onshore) Wind is only subject local planning apparently now. Not sure anything has actually gone through the pipeline since that announcement was made.

        Fracking of course is subject to overriding local planning, because it’s “in the national interest” or rather, in the interests of the Tory Party, their donors and the rest of the 1%.

      • James – I am not up on these things. Seems Scotlands recent referendum has loosened things up a bit with London. They don’t want Scotland to do another referendum and split, so they are treading lighter.
        I can enjoy that. So can Scots.

  • Why does it take DECC five months to issue the data? It’s logged in real time by the operators of the transmission and distribution network.

  • As Jan Veselý points out in another discussion the UK transitioned 10% of their grid supply from fossil fuels to renewables in only 3 years.

    At that rate the UK could generate all their electricity from renewables in just over 20 years.

    • I expect the “Tory effect” to start to slow the transition in the next 5 years.

      It is true though, that Hinkley aside, no new thermal power stations are slated that I am aware of. Certainly not FF.

      With Ferrybridge C and Longannet going offline in early 2016, we’ll almost certainly see a substantial drop in CO2 emissions as well.

      What worries me is there is a potential “energy gap” because our demand is getting close to capacity in winter (I worry about it less than most and I think they’re doing dodgy maths and not including renewable variable generation in the tally, but I may be wrong about this), and so there might be calls to either build new plants or more likely, reopen mothballed plants. Both of the above would be possible targets for this.

      The good news is that there is a substantial amount of offshore wind in the pipeline for the next few years. That 5GW could be much closer to 10GW by 2020-22…

      • Fracking will fill the gap, doncha know;)

        Or so the Tories desperately hope.

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