UK coal use still growing but steady progress on renewables

Posted at December 23, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on UK coal use still growing but steady progress on renewables

The UK government’s latest figures on energy production and use, released yesterday, reveal that while coal use is at its highest share in 14 years, renewable electricity is still growing steadily.

The Energy Trends and Quarterly Energy Prices for the third quarter of 2012 reveal that coal stands at a third-quarter 14-year high accounting for 35.4% of the electricity generated in the UK, with the country’s nuclear fleet accounting for 22.3%.

High gas prices also pushed down its use for electricity generation, where it accounted for 28.2% of that generated in the third quarter – the lowest share for this period in 14 years.

Renewables continue to make slow but steady progress, up 2.6% to 11.7% of electricity generated during the third quarter. Overall, low-carbon electricity generation now makes up a record 34% of the whole, according to the statement from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Offshore wind continues to lead the renewables sector, showing a 54% increase over the period, followed by onshore wind, which grew 38% thanks to increased capacity.

The UK’s renewable electricity capacity now stands at 14.9 GW, an increase of 4.4 GW – or 42.1% – on the same time last year and a 0.6 GW (4.4%) increase on the previous quarter.

On the usage side, the figures also reveal what many consumers are most concerned about – escalating prices. Overall energy – fuel and light – prices have risen by 3.6% in real terms since last year, with electricity up 1.7% and gas up 6.4%.

What this means for a typical household – before any of the latest price rises announced by the Big Six energy companies, which will kick in for the next round of figures – is an extra £25 on electricity bills and £79 on gas bills for the year.

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Related stories:
EU makes progress on renewables but UK still lagging (19-Dec)
Wind power could be second only to gas in UK by 2020 (31-Oct)
UK coal generation up 60% but renewables taking off (1-Oct)

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