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Wind will blow renewable electricity to new records in 2023

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Wind will blow renewable electricity to new records in 2023

Wind farms generated record levels of UK electricity last year, meeting just under 29 per cent of the country's energy needs in 2023, while fossil fuel generation from coal and gas stations fell by one again.

The latest energy trends report from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) shows that offshore wind generated just over 17 percent of Britain's electricity in 2023, almost three percentage points more than the previous year, while onshore wind energy increased from 10.8 percent. percent in 2022 to 11.4 percent last year, as both sectors set new records.

Renewables – including wind, solar, hydro, biomass and tidal – outperformed fossil fuel electricity generation for the third year in a row, supplying more than 47 percent of the UK's electricity in 2023, up from 41 .5 percent last year, marking another new record.

In contrast, electricity production from oil, gas and coal-fired power stations fell to a record low last year, accounting for 34.3 percent of the national energy mix, compared to 40.8 percent in 2022.

“These official figures show that renewables have once again surpassed fossil fuels and met a greater share of Britain's annual electricity needs than ever before, with wind leading the way as our largest source of clean energy,” said Ana Musat , executive director of policy at Trade. association RenewableUK. “With renewables we can strengthen Britain's energy security with the cheapest sources of new energy available to bill payers.”

The statistics released today also show that wind energy accounted for the largest share of electricity generation during the final quarter of last year for the first time in UK history, accounting for over a third (34.2 percent) of the total mix mattered. It meant that for the first time in a whole quarter, wind energy generated a larger share of the UK's electricity than fossil gas energy.

Renewable electricity generation reached a record high of almost 40 TWh in the fourth quarter, marking an increase of almost five percent compared to the same period in 2022 thanks to increased solar, wind and bioenergy generation. Wind production increased by 1.5 percent over the period, despite similar average wind speeds in the latter quarters of both 2022 and 2023, DESNZ said.

At the same time, data shows that domestic electricity generation in Britain will fall to a record low by 2023 due to a combination of reduced energy demand due to energy efficiency improvements and sluggish economic growth and increased net import from countries such as France and Denmark. .

Electricity generation fell by 11 percent in 2023, while energy demand rose by 2.2 percent, largely due to Britain's return to a net importer of electricity last year after failures at France's nuclear power stations had turned Britain into a net exporter. 2022.

Meanwhile, electricity production from fossil fuels continued to decline both in 2023 as a whole and in the final quarter of the year, partly due to lower electricity demand and further coal-fired power plant closures across the country.

Electricity generation from fossil fuels fell by 22 percent and reached a record low last year, with gas-fired generation alone falling by 22 percent to 98 TWh, while electricity generation from coal fell by 37 percent to just 3.5 TWh, the report shows. facts. This led to the share of fossil fuels in the UK electricity mix falling by almost five percentage points to 36.3 percent over the whole of 2023.

The latest figures follow the government's recent confirmation of a record £1 billion budget for this year's crucial auction of clean energy contracts, which will see more than £800 million earmarked for offshore wind. However, with last year's Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction attracting no bids at all from offshore wind developers, the industry remains concerned that this year's auction budget is still too low to attract enough bids to get Britain back on track to get a track. the government's target of 50 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030.

Musat reiterated RenewableUK's call for the government to increase the budget for the upcoming auction round to attract more bids to ramp up much-needed offshore wind capacity over the decade. “We therefore urge ministers to work with us to increase the number of turnkey renewable energy projects that the government could bring forward through this year's CfD auction,” she said . “This will allow us to maximize deployment, strengthen skills and grow new supply chains, while continuing to create jobs across the country.”

The update came as separate government figures today show that total UK territorial greenhouse gas emissions fell by more than five per cent last year. .

Decarbonising the UK's electricity grid is widely seen as one of the key drivers of the UK's path to net zero emissions, with the government currently aiming for a nearly carbon-free energy system by 2035, while Labor aims to achieve the same milestone. by 2030.

Either way, major policy and infrastructure measures will be taken over the next five to 10 years to enable the electric grid to operate on a near-zero emissions basis. To that end, regulator Ofgem has today published a five-year strategy setting out its policy. priorities and objectives for achieving “a clean, affordable and secure energy system”.

Ofgem chairman Mark McAllister said the strategy aimed to simultaneously decarbonise the UK's energy system while better protecting consumers by avoiding future price shocks of the kind that sent prices soaring in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“The price shocks of recent years have been greater than anything I have seen in a 45-year career in the energy sector,” he said. “As things start to stabilize, now is the time to shift our focus to building a cleaner, safer and more affordable energy system that will help achieve a net-zero future for generations to come, while ensuring we don't amenable to comparable prices. shock again.

“The challenges we face, including building infrastructure at a pace not seen for decades, are there for all to see, but so are the opportunities and benefits they can bring to customers across the UK Kingdom.”

Do you want to understand what is going on at the intersection of sustainability? View BusinessGreen Intelligence – the key information for professionals focused on Britain's green economy.

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