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Share of renewable energy generation touches record levels

Despite increased demand of electricity caused by the “Beast from the East” cold snap, electricity generation through renewable sources hit a new record high in the first quarter of this year

Despite increased demand of electricity caused by the “Beast from the East” cold snap, electricity generation through renewable sources hit a new record high in the first quarter of this year, according to new government figures.

Energy Trends, published yesterday by the BEIS (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) department, shows 27.9 TWh of renewable electricity was generated in the first quarter of 2018, a 10.2% increase compared to the same period a year earlier.

Total wind generation showed the largest increase, up one third by 12.7 TWh to 50.0 TWh. Wind accounted for nearly a fifth of total UK electricity generation (19.1%), outstripping nuclear power (17.9%).

Offshore and onshore contributing 8.5% and 10.6% of the country’s power needs respectively.

This increased output meant that renewables’ share of total electricity generation increased to a record quarterly high of 30.1% in the first three months of this year, compared to 27% in the same period for 2017.

Coal accounted for 9.4% of electricity generated in the first quarter of 2018, while the share of energy generated through gas was 39.9%.

Overall electricity consumption was two per cent higher than in the first quarter of 2017, with households using four per cent more. Temperatures in the first quarter of 2018 were on average 1.9 degrees Celsius colder than in the same period a year earlier.

Renewable UK’s executive director Emma Pinchbeck hailed the figures and called for the government to heed the Committee on Climate Change’s advice earlier this week that the block on onshore wind development should be relaxed.

Pinchbeck said that they hope ministers will listen to their own experts and take swift action to lift the block on future onshore projects.

She also called on the government to agree its sector deal with the offshore wind industry as soon as possible following this week’s similar agreement with the nuclear industry.