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UK Renewables Contribute 22.4% As Coal Continues To Plummet

A new analysis from analyst firm EnAppSys has revealed that gas and renewables are increasing their share of electricity production in the UK.

According to the latest quarterly market (PDF) report by self-proclaimed “energy experts” EnAppSys, gas-fired plants increased their share of power contribution to 35.4% of the UK’s electricity needs, followed by renewables with 22.4%.

Most importantly, however, is the massive turnaround from only a year earlier, in which there was almost 50% more generation from coal than gas. Specifically, coal generated 28.7 TWh of electricity in the first quarter of 2015, compared to 19.65 TWh from gas. A year later, gas generated 29.68 TWh, while coal only generated 13.56 TWh.

“The government has sent out the message that unabated coal will play no role in the market beyond 2025,” said Paul Verrill, a director of EnAppSys (PDF). “With this message as a backdrop and with coal stations in the UK paying much higher carbon costs than stations on the continent, many coal stations have taken the decision to close earlier than anticipated.”

“The government has previously declared an intention to get new CCGT [combined cycle gas turbine] plants in place to offset the coal station closures, but obviously this is not going to be possible ahead of winter 2016/17. As a result, the ancillary service contracts recently awarded to Drax and Fiddler’s Ferry will play a role in securing additional capacity for the next 12 months and this should reduce the risks of supply shortage.”

According to EnAppSys, the growth rate of renewable energy generation slowed due to lower levels of wind generation. However, overall, the renewable energy sector grew with an 82% increase in solar, and 22% growth in hydro generation. For the first quarter 2016 specifically, 46.1% of renewable electricity generation came from wind farms, 33.2% from biomass plants, 13.5% from hydro plants, and 7.2% from solar farms.

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