UK savours renewables record

Government figures show clean power generated 98.9TWh in 2017

Renewable energy generated a record 98.9 terrawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity in the UK in 2017, taking a 29.4% share of generation, according to government figures.

Only natural gas produced more electricity than clean power last year, the data shows.

Renewables capacity stood at 40.5GW at the end of 2017, up 13.3% or 4.8GW on the previous year.

Onshore wind generated 28.7TWh in 2017, up 37% on 2016, with offshore turbines producing 20.9TWh – an increase of 27.3% on the previous 12 months.

Overall, wind energy accounted for 15% of UK electricity demand last year, said RenewableUK.

R-UK executive director Emma Pinchbeck said: “These official figures confirm that it’s been another record-breaking year for wind energy, which generated 15% of the UK’s electricity in 2017. The move to a smart, renewables-led energy system is well underway.”

Bioenergy including co-firing plants was responsible for 31.2TWh of output, up 5.9%, with solar generating 11.5TWh and hydro 5.9TWh – both up by just over 10% on 2016.

In Scotland, the equivalent of 68.1% of gross electricity consumption came from renewable sources, up 14.1 percentage points from the 54% in 2016, the Scottish government said.

Installed capacity in Scotland reached 10GW at the end of December 2017, a 13% increase on the previous 12 months, it added.