UK onshore wind generation up 51%

Electricity generation from onshore wind was up by 51% in the first quarter of 2012, as a result of huge increases in capacity, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has revealed.

Onshore wind generated 3.6 TWh of power during the first three months of 2012, up from 2.4 TWh in the previous quarter – the highest absolute increase in generation of any technology in the UK’s energy mix. The increase reflects a 36% bump in renewables capacity coming online in the past 12 months, DECC said.

Large increases in generation were also seen in hydro, which was up by 43% due to high winter rainfall levels, and offshore wind, which was up 50%. Bioenergy also saw an increase, up by 21% due in part to the conversion of the 750 MW Tilbury B coal-fired power station to dedicated biomass.

Overall, renewables accounted for 3.8% of the UK’s total energy supply in the quarter, up from 3.2% in 2010. Under the Renewable Energy Directive, the UK must source 15% of its supply from renewables by 2020, and is hoping to reach an average of 4% by the end of 2012.

Energy Minister Charles Hendry said: "Today’s statistics show a clear increase on the first quarter of last year across all renewables – with rises in wind, hydro, solar and bioenergy generation. Alongside a 36% increase in renewables capacity in the last 12 months, this shows that the UK is powering forward on clean and secure energy and is clearly a very attractive place to invest.”

Total primary energy consumption fell by 2.3% overall, 1.1% when weather differences between 2011 and 2012 were taken into account. Meanwhile, the UK’s fossil fuel consumption dropped, with gas accounting for just 27% of the energy mix, its lowest for 14 years. Nuclear generation accounted for 17% of total electricity generated in the first quarter of 2012, a decrease from the 19% share in the first quarter of 2011.

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Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Wind power