Renewables’ share of UK electricity generation increased by more than 2 per cent in the third quarter of 2012.
Renewable electricity generation was 9.5 TWh in the third quarter of 2012, an increase of 25.2 per cent on the 7.6 TWh in the third quarter of 2011.
According to the latest UK Energy statistics, offshore wind generation rose by 54.2 per cent, while onshore wind generation rose by 38.2 per cent, due to increased capacity.
Generation from hydro fell by 16.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2012 compared with a year earlier, due to lower rainfall in North Scotland.
Renewable electricity capacity was 14.9 GW at the end of the third quarter of 2012, a rise of 42.1 per cent (4.4 GW) on a year earlier, and 4.4 per cent (0.6 GW) on the previous quarter.
Due to high gas prices, gas’s share of generation in 2011 in each of England, Scotland and Wales fell in 2011, to a record low for each country in the 2004 to 2011 period covered.
Nuclear’s share of generation in 2011 increased in England, Scotland and Wales, due to increased availability, after extensive outages in 2010.
The share of renewables increased in all four countries in 2011, as a result of increased capacity and higher rainfall and wind speeds.
Scotland’s renewable electricity target (for renewable electricity generation to reach 31 per cent of gross consumption by 2011) was passed, with 36.3 per cent of gross electricity consumption from renewable electricity generation in 2011.
Indigenous production of fuels in the UK fell by 7.3 per cent in the third quarter of 2012 compared with a year earlier. Production of oil fell by 12.1 per cent whilst gas fell by 11.3 as a result of maintenance work and slowdowns on a number of fields.
Of electricity generated in the third quarter of 2012, gas accounted for 28.2 per cent (it’s lowest third quarter share for 14 years) due to high prices, whilst coal accounted for 35.4 per cent (it’s highest third quarter share for 14 years).
Nuclear generation accounted for 22.3 per cent, whilst renewables share of electricity generation increased by 2.6 percentage points to 11.7 per cent in the third quarter of 2012. Overall low carbon fuels accounted for a record share of 34.0 per cent of generation.
Offshore wind increased by 54 per cent, with onshore wind up by 38 per cent due to increased capacity, whilst hydro output fell by 16 per cent as a result of lower rainfall in North Scotland.
The share of liquid biofuels of petrol and diesel consumed in road transport fell from 3.9 per cent to 2.7 per cent, due to a 63 per cent fall in biodiesel consumption as a result of the ending of duty relief on cooking oil used for biodiesel on 31 March 2012.
Provisional figures for the third quarter of 2012 show that coal production (including an estimate for slurry) was down 12.5 per cent on the third quarter of 2011 at 4.1 million tonnes. There was a decrease of 21.6 per cent (-0.4 million tonnes) in deep-mined production due to operational problems at several sites and of 4.7 per cent (-0.1 million tonnes) in surface- mined production.
Imports of coal in the third quarter of 2012 were 33.4 per cent higher than in the third quarter of 2011 at 10.9 million tonnes, with Russia the largest source accounting for 40 per cent.
Total demand for coal in the third quarter of 2012, at 13.4 million tonnes, was 35.6 per cent higher than in the third quarter of 2011. Consumption by electricity generators was up by 49.6 per cent to 11.2 million tonnes, reflecting the switch from gas to coal for electricity generation. Coal consumption by generators over the three quarters of 2012 is already at 93 per cent of the level seen in 2011.
Commenting on the news that for the first three quarters of 2012, Scotland’s renewable electricity output was on track for the best year ever, Dr Sam Gardner, Senior Climate Change Policy Officer at WWF Scotland said: "It is great news that Scotland generated over 36 per cent of our electricity demand from renewables in 2011 and this year looks set to overtake that record breaking output.
"By combining Scotland's superb renewable energy resource with greater energy efficiency and investment in the grid Scotland, can avoid the need for new fossil fuel power stations.
"Scotland continues to make encouraging progress on renewables and has tripled the amount of electricity it generates from clean green sources since 2000. Building a low carbon economy of the future will require an equally ambitious approach to boost the energy efficiency of our buildings and tackle emissions from transport.”