Electricity generated from renewable sources accounted for 14.9% of the UK’s total electricity generation last year, up from 11.3% in 2012.

In a statement released by DECC, energy secretary Ed Davey said: “The Government’s investment in renewable energy is paying off: renewable electricity has more than doubled in just four years – with around 15% of Britain’s electricity already coming from clean renewable sources like wind, solar and hydro.

“This massive investment in green energy is accelerating, with 2013 a record year, with almost £8bn invested across range of renewable technologies. Having a strong UK renewable sector helps to reduce our foreign imports of energy, improving our energy security, as well as helping us tackle climate change and creating new hi-tech green jobs.

“A green energy future that once seemed impossible for Britain is fast becoming a reality.”

Renewable sources

The UK’s total renewable generation increased to 14.9% in 2013 with:

  • Offshore wind generation up 50% 
  • Onshore wind generation up 40%
  • Solar PV capacity up 59%
  • Bioenergy capacity increased by 27% largely from converting coal capacity to biomass 

The UK’s final energy consumption increased slightly, by 0.7%, reflecting the cold weather felt in 2013. Final consumption of electricity remained broadly unchanged at around 317Twh – the lowest level since 1998.

The UK also became a net importer of petroleum products for the first time in 1984, with primary energy production falling 6.3% in 2012. The UK’s domestic energy production is now less than half its levels in 1999, with an annual rate of decline averaging 6.6%.

Overall energy consumption from renewables stood at 5.2%, up from 4.2% in 2012. DECC estimates that this increase in renewable energy accounted for a decrease in emissions of carbon dioxide of around 2% in 2013.

Britain’s 2013 electricty generation summary (source: DECC)

Coal consumption also fell by 5.7% in 2013 but coal power still accounted for 36% of the electricity generated. The statistics show that the UK still relies heavily on energy and fuel imports, with a dependency level of 47%. The UK also imported 41% of its coal from Russia, amid new EU sanctions due to the conflict in Ukraine, while most its oil and gas imports came from Norway.

The report follows statistics released by DECC last month, which showed that almost a fifth of the UK’s electricty was generated by renewable sources in the first three months of 2014.

Matt Field

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