Renewables’ share of electricity generation up to 41.5% in 2022 – Oil and coal production hit record lows

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero have published their annual Digest of UK Energy Statistics, breaking down the UK’s use of energy over 2022. 

Total demand for energy remained stable when compared to the previous year. Energy use in transport increased by 15% but remains below pre-pandemic levels due to the slower recovery in air travel.

The warmer than usual weather reduced domestic energy use, although the final quarter of the year, when temperatures were comparable to those in 2021, saw a drop of 14% in demand for gas and 11% for electricity, as people tightened their belts against soaring energy costs.

Over the last ten years, demand for coal has dropped 96% and coal production in 2022 was 38% lower than in 2021.

In terms of renewables, capacity increased by 7.7% while generation increased by 10%. Wind (onshore +27% and offshore +21%) and solar energy (+10%) generation both broke records. Wind speeds were lower than in 2020 but increased capacity more than compensated for that. Solar benefitted from more hours of sun in 2022. 

The load factor for renewables in 2022 was 38.1%. This is the percentage of energy generated by a resource as a proportion of its actual capacity. For example, solar energy has over a quarter of the UK’s capacity but, because the sun doesn’t shine constantly, it only generates 10% of the UK’s total energy. 

Nuclear generation rose 4% despit the closure of Hunterston B in January and Hinkley Point B entering the first stage of its decommissioning process.

Commenting on the statistics, RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Dan McGrail said: ‘It’s great to see renewables setting new records across the board, generating record amounts of clean power last year, making us less dependant on expensive gas imports at the very time when fossil fuel costs rocketed up, causing an energy crisis which we’re still grappling with.

‘Government and industry must pull out all the stops to increase our energy security by ensuring that vital new clean energy projects can be built faster, onshore and offshore. This is not the time to waver or row back on policies which accelerate the energy transition. On the contrary, we need more of a focus from Government on ensuring we continue to unlock investment in renewables, and that the UK’s secures the maximum amount of new jobs and manufacturing investment which could flow from the billions of pounds of private investment which our sector brings.’  


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11 months ago

do we know how much of the ‘renewables’ came from biomass pellets and Drax? Can we really count that as a renewable? Some say no.

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