Breaking Records: The UK’s Renewable Energy in Numbers

With the UK aiming to reach net zero by 2050, a crucial part of the strategy is transitioning to an electricity system with 100% zero-carbon generation. Much of this is expected to come from renewable energy.

Renewable energy is already part of our electricity mix (the different energy sources that make up our electricity supply), but how much are we currently using?

Renewable Energy
  • In Britain’s electricity mix, zero-carbon power has grown from less than 20% in 2010 to over 50% in February, May, October, November and December of 2022.
  • Power provided by coal was responsible for only 1.5% of electricity generation in 2022, compared to 2012, when coal represented 43% of electricity produced.

  • The maximum wind power generation record was broken three times in 2022, reaching 20.918GW on 30 December 2022.

  • In February 2022, the UK achieved its lowest-ever carbon intensity month since records began, at 126 grams of CO2 per kWh average. The lowest carbon intensity record of 29 gCO2/kWh (achieved on 5 April 2021) was also matched on 26 December 2022.

  • In 2020 renewables accounted for more than 43.1% of the UK’s total of 312 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity generated, outstripping fossil fuels over the course of a year for the first time in the nation’s history.

  • 2020 also saw the UK have its longest coal-free power run, with 68 days between 10 April and 16 June; this is the longest coal-free period since the industrial revolution, which began in the mid-1700s!

  • Zero-carbon sources outperform traditional fossil fuel generation by providing 48.5% of the electricity used in 2022, compared to 40% from gas and coal power stations.

Facts were referenced from the National Grid Group.