solar wind UK
Good Energy

Significant strides were made last year in the use of renewable energy sources to generate electricity, according to government statistics.

Coal generation fell but the most carbon intensive form of energy remained the UK’s dominant power source as gas use continued to fall.

In its quarterly Energy Trends report, DECC announced that 5.2 per cent of final energy consumption last year came from renewables, up a percentage point from 2012.

This, according to DECC, “shows the progress made against the UK’s 15 per cent target under the 2009 EU Renewable Directive.”

But that’s just the top-line, what does the rest of the report say. In three graphs, here’s what we learned from the gov’s energy stats.

1) Renewables all going to electricity


The amount of renewable energy generated in the UK last year is equivalent to 11 thousand tonnes of oil, more than double what it was seven years ago.

The vast majority (about three quarters) of 2013’s haul was used for electricity with the governments renewable heat scheme only just starting.

We’ve also seen the emergence of renewables used as a transport fuel, though its share is next to nothing.

2) Renewables replacing coal and gas

Coal electricity generation fell by 16 percentage points this year, whilst gas generation was down 19.

It’s renewables that’s making up the difference, with its electricity production up 43 per cent, taking over from nuclear as the third largest power source.

The country’s electricity use was down 5 per cent what it was last year.

3) Good year for hydro and solar

Wind energy, both onshore and offshore, is still the giant of the renewables sector, producing well over half of its electricity generation.

Whist it grew by over 50 per cent last year, its growth was dwarfed by Solar PV, wave and tidal (up 75 per cent) and Hydro, which, by growing 78 per cent to produce over 2 TWh, is now a major player in the renewables cavalcade.