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Renewables Rise As UK Electricity Generation Falls

Posted: 18/01/2019

The amount of electricity generated in the UK in 2018 fell to its lowest level in 25 years, new analysis from the Carbon Brief has revealed. According to the website, output in the UK was down to 335 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2018. This is 16 per cent lower than in 2005, despite the country’s population having increased by ten per cent in the some time frame.

What’s more, the share of generation made up by renewable sources reached its highest ever level last year. 33 per cent of the UK’s energy came from renewable sources, and when other low-carbon sources such as nuclear power are accounted for, over half (53 per cent) of the country’s electricity generation were produced from low-carbon sources.

Wind energy in particular witnessed strong growth in the UK, increasing by 16 per cent in just a year, and by over 100 per cent in the past five years.

The organisation noted that one of the reasons for falling electricity generation is improved energy efficiency. Carbon Brief found that the average amount of energy generated per person in the UK has fallen by 24 per cent since 2005, bringing it to its lowest level since 1984.

A number of factors have contributed to this improvement, including energy efficient lighting, energy efficiency standards in electrical products, economic restructuring and consumers becoming more environmentally conscious.

There seems to be no signs that the UK’s development of renewable power sources, particularly wind energy, is slowing down. Last month, RenewableUK revealed that a record amount of offshore wind capacity was installed in UK waters in 2018. In total, eight new offshore wind farms were opened last year, bringing the total energy this source generates each year to 2,121 megawatts (MW).

Among the sites to become operational in 2018 were the world’s largest offshore wind farm - Walney Extension - and the world’s second floating offshore wind farm, in Scotland’s Kincardine.

In 2019, Beatrice in Moray Firth is expected to start generating power, while in 2020 two more significant offshore wind farms will be up and running: East Anglia ONE and Hornsea Project ONE. Both will have a higher capacity than Walney Extension, with Hornsea Project ONE capable of generating 1,218 MW annually, considerably more than the 659 MW generated by Walney Extension.

Of course, with more and more offshore wind farms generating electricity, businesses that operate them will need to ensure that their health and safety standards and documented records are robust.

Investing in your team and ensuring your employees are GWO working at heights accredited and also receive specialist advanced offshore medical response training ensures they are competent and hold advanced capabilities.

Emma Pinchbeck, Executive Director of RenewableUK, said that 2018 marks the beginning of a “great shift to renewables”. “By 2030, offshore wind could be generating more than a third of the UK’s entire electricity needs, with 30 gigawatts up and running,” she stated.

Ms Pinchbeck also revealed that by this point it could be employing up to 27,000 people, as well as attracting significant investment.

“Offshore wind has brought the UK jobs, lower bills and renewable energy,” she asserted.