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.