Renewables eclipse other power sources in Great Britain for first quarter of 2020

New data has revealed that renewables accounted for more electricity than any other power source in Great Britain for the first quarter of 2020, as blustery winds spurred renewables generation to 45% of the entire electricity mix.

Renewables eclipse other power sources in Great Britain for first quarter of 2020

EnAppSys does state that the trend is likely to be a “temporary high”

New quarterly data from analysts EnAppSys has found that between January and March 2020, 45% of electricity generation came from renewables and exceeded levels of the total fossil fuel generation for that period by a margin of 36%.

In the quarter, 44.6% of power came from renewables and 29.1% from gas-fired plants. The remaining power came from nuclear (15.3%), imports (7.3%) and coal plants (3.7%).

The analysts note that power output from windfarms pushed passed 10GW for 63% of the quarter and more than 5GW for 85% of the quarter. At the same time, nuclear generated its smallest volume since Q3 in 2008, producing 12.2TWh in the quarter as “the older reactors have been seeing increasing levels of downtime as they move towards the end of their operational life”.

March also saw levels of demand fall significantly as the country moved into lockdown due to the coronavirus.

EnAppSys’ director Paul Verrill said: “Whilst the ‘stay at home’ measures reduced demand in the last weeks of March, which increased the contribution of renewables, wind farms generated significantly more power than gas-fired plants, which historically have been the dominant fuel type for electricity generation in Great Britain for some years now.” 

EnAppSys does state that the trend is likely to be a “temporary high” as weather patterns are expected to normalise and put outputs down slightly.

The news arrives in the same week that new data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) showed that solar, wind and other green technologies now provide more than one-third of the world’s power, a new record.

Renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) made by corporates in Europe alone totalled 8GW in 2019, up from 5.5GW in 2018. The world has invested about $3tn in renewables over the past decade, according to Irena, but annual investments must double by 2030 to tackle the climate emergency.

Despite this growth, the number of jobs in renewable energy in the UK has collapsed by nearly a third.

Matt Mace

Comments (2)

  1. Keiron Shatwell says:

    Yet today (9th April at 08:41) renewables account for 14.4% of UK total demand.

    By renewables I am counting Wind, Solar and Hydro only. I do not include Biomass as renewable as it still involves burning something and do not believe it is carbon neutral if you factor in all the hydrocarbons needed to cut, transport and process wood.

  2. Richard Phillips says:

    In the first quarter, wind, the principal renewable generator, fell to below 5GW, from an installed 22GW, for a total of 14 days.
    This is not mentioned in the above article. During this period, gas had to step in.
    Get rid of fossil fuel, and what does this job?
    Only nuclear is left as a reliable, on demand generator, but what is left of the nuclear programme???
    Politicians are not fit to oversee our electricity generation, they quite simply do not understand the first priciples
    Richard Phillips

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