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Britain generates 39% more electricity from wind turbines

The United Kingdom generated 5.5 TWh of electricity from renewable energy in the third quarter (Q3) of 2009, an increase of 25% compared with Q3 2008.

Output from wind turbines increased 38.9%, according to statistics from the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC). Output from hydroelectric facilities rose by 39.3% during the same period.

Total inland consumption of all energy dropped 6.3% from Q3 2008, to 208 million tonnes of oil equivalent. Consumption of coal dropped 20%, oil fell 6% and gas consumption fell by 6.2%, while primary electricity consumption rose 34% due to increased output from nuclear reactors.

Of all electricity in Q3 2009, gas generated a record share of 52% while nuclear increased by 47% over Q3 2008, to account for 20% of the national total, and exceeding the share from coal for the first time since 1999.

The share of renewable energy in total UK energy supply rose 2 percentage points, to account for 7% in Q3 2009, the report notes.

DECC also released annual energy statistics from 2008, which show that 8.9 GWh of electricity was generated from renewables in 2008, an increase of 9% over 2007. The share from wind, wave and solar increased by 26%, mainly attributable to wind.

The share of renewables in electricity generation or sales is measured in two different ways in Britain: an overall measure shows the percentage of electricity from all renewables while a second measure is based on the Renewables Obligation (RO) and the Renewables Obligation Scotland (ROS) which tracks sales from renewables eligible under these obligations. The main differences are the exclusion from the RO of large-scale hydro and non-biodegradable wastes.

The latest report shows regional variances, with Scotland reporting a 22% share from green power. Low rainfall in 2006 reduced Scotland’s output from hydro, but a return to normal flows in 2008 took the percentage for renewables to 18%. In Scotland, the target for renewables is 31% by 2011 and 50% by 2050, and the report notes that output was 20.2% in 2007 and 22% in 2008.

Green power output from Scotland accounts for 42% of Britain’s total. There is 6.5 GW of renewable capacity installed, consented or under construction, and another 36 applications (including 24 for onshore wind) would add another 2.7 GW of generating capacity.

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