Low carbon power supplied a record 38.3 per cent of power in 2014, despite a number of nuclear power outages in the second half of the year, new government figures have suggested today.
Provisional data released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) revealed major growth in renewable energy generation from wind, solar, biomass and hydro helped make up for a shortfall in coal and nuclear generation.
Coal accounted for less than one third of the UK’s power supply for the first time, after a number of plants came offline or switched to biomass.
Nuclear generation fell by 9.7 per cent, due to a number of plant outages in the second half of the year.
Overall power supply dropped last year, helping the share of low-carbon power to increase from 34.6 per cent in 2013 to 38.3 per cent last year. Gas’ share of the power mix similarly rose from 26.6 per cent to 30.2 per cent over the same period.
Total generation during the year fell 6.7 per cent as demand fell, further fuelling hopes that energy efficiency measures are continuing to reduce the energy intensity of the economy.
The specific share of renewable electricity generation hit a record 19.2 per cent last year, up from 14.9 per cent in 2013, the figures showed.
Wind and solar PV generation alone increased by 16.6 per cent to 35.5 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2014 as more capacity came online, while hydro generation rose by 26 per cent as a result of heavier rainfall.
Separate government figures today show that overall solar power capacity stood at 5.7GW by the end of March 2015, an increase of 6.4 per cent compared with the end of February 2015.
The data comes just days after the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published the latest results of its quarterly survey of public attitudes to energy, which again confirmed nearly 80 per cent of people support the use of renewable energy.
Simon Booth, Managing Director, REI says “there are lots of facts and figures in this article, but to sum up, they overarching story is that low carbon energy, whichever way you look at it is on the rise”.