UK renewables generation up 31% in 2015

I compared 2015’s UK electricity production with that of 2014. Total generation was down 2.1% including estimated production from solar PV and smaller scale wind farms.

The percentage supplied by gas, oil and coal fell from 58.7% of the total to 52.1%. Especially carbon-intensive open cycle gas turbines (OCGT) and oil fell from 0.004% of all generation to 0.003%. This will surprise anti-renewables campaigners who often focus on the supposed need for wind and solar to be continuously backed up by OCGT power stations.

Coal’s share fell from its 2014 share of 30.9% to 24.3%. In the windy month of December 2015, electricity produced from coal was only just less than electricity generated by wind and solar. For a short period on June 6th 2015, wind and solar produced a new record of about 40% of all UK generation.

Wind and solar (including all smaller scale wind farms) rose from 10.2% to 13.1% of all generation, a rise of 29%. Of this total, solar PV increased from 1.1% to 2.5%, more than doubling in the year.

‘Other’, a category dominated by the biomass plants at Drax, was up from 2.4% of all generation in 2014 to 3.7% in 2015.

Nuclear had a good year in 2014, reaching 21.5% of all production, up from the figure of 19.1% in 2014 when several power stations had unexpected maintenance outages.

Pumped storage, imports and hydro produced about 10% of all electricity both in 2014 and in 2015.

In summary, renewables (wind, solar, hydro and ‘other’) produced 18.2% of all UK electricity in 2015, up from 13.9%. This represents a rise of 31% in the share of total generation.

Source: Elexon and National Grid’s Demand Data forecasts for embedded wind and solar. Please ask if you'd like data on other aspects of the 2015 figures.