Renewable energy sources provided a record 37.1% of the UK’s electricity in 2019, up from 33.1% in 2018, according to the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) published by BEIS (the business and energy ministry), which suggests 2019 was the first year in which renewables accounted for more than one-third of total electricity generation.
Analysts attribute this mainly to the increased onshore and offshore wind capacity. Wind alone generated a record 20% of UK electricity last year. Wind generation also set new records in the annual quantities of power it provided, with onshore and offshore each generating 32 TWh, out of an overall generation by renewables totalling 121TWh.
Low carbon generation from renewables and nuclear power hit a record 54.4%, despite nuclear falling to 17.3% as a result of outages and maintenance.
Gas generated 40.6% while coal fell to an all-time low of 2.1%. This decrease was mainly owing to lower demand for coal-fired electricity, the subsequent closing of coal mines.
RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Melanie Onn said: “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 glacially slow.”