Thursday, July 25, 2013

UK renewables output soars 19 percent in 2012

The UK is in the midst of a renewable energy boom as output from clean energy sources continues to soar, according to new government figures released today.

The annual digest of UK Energy Statistics confirmed that electricity from renewable energy sources rose 19 per cent last year, accounting for 11.3 per cent of all electricity generation.

The figures also confirm that renewables accounted for 4.1 per cent of total energy consumption last year, up from 3.8 per cent the previous year.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said the performance was "very encouraging", adding that with the government's new strike price support expected to deliver a new surge in investment, the UK remains on track to meet its EU target of generating 15 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2015.

The wind energy sector led the way with output from offshore wind farms growing 46 per cent and output from onshore wind farms climbing 17 per cent.

"These figures confirm the recent trends we have seen that show renewables, and especially wind, playing an ever-increasing role in our electricity generation," said Maf Smith, deputy chief executive of RenewableUK. "They come at the end of a busy period for wind, which has seen the largest offshore wind farm in the world opened at London Array, as well as a number of major onshore sites going live. We have made some remarkable progress over recent years, and this is another shot in the arm for the renewables sector."

The data also confirms that energy consumption rose 1.7 per cent last year, primarily as a result of the cold winter. Once the temperature impact was taken into account, underlying energy consumption was down 0.7 per cent, suggesting corporate and government energy efficiency programmes are enjoying some success.
The DECC spokesman said that underlying domestic energy consumption was continuing to fall as part of a long-term trend that has seen average household energy use fall 12 per cent since 1990.

However, the latest statistics will also raise fresh concerns over the UK's reliance on energy imports and its increased use of coal.

High gas prices meant the shift from gas to coal continued last year, with coal accounting for 39 per cent of UK electricity generation. Meanwhile, primary energy production fell 10.7 per cent as oil and gas output from the UK Continental Shelf continued to fall. As a result, energy imports rose 6.9 per cent to record levels, further entrenching the UK's position as a net energy importer.

The DECC spokesman said the government has launched a review designed to increase domestic energy output and also stressed that a combination of EU pollution directives and the government's electricity market reforms should reverse the trend towards unabated coal power in the coming years.

Energy consumption in the industrial sector fell three per cent, partly as a result of the weak economic backdrop, but also because of improved efficiency across the sector. According to the figures, energy consumption per unit of output fell 47 per cent in the chemicals sector between 1990 and 2012, dropped 12 per cent in the iron and steel sector, and fell by a third across the entire industrial category.

Syndicated from Business Green

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