Renewable power generation rises in the UK

UNITED KINGDOM - The amount of power generated in the UK from renewable sources rose to 5.5% of total electricity generation in 2008, an increase of 4.9% over 2007.

According to the statistics published in the Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics 2009, published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), on a renewable obligation basis, 5.

4% of electricity came from eligible sources, which is nearly treble the 1.8% achieved 2002. Overall, UK energy consumption in 2008 decreased 1.1%.

In 2008, renewables again showed an increase in contribution to the overall energy generation picture. Under the Renewables Obligation to the UK electricity sales policy, energy from renewables has grown from 4.5% in 2006 to 4.8% in 2007 and 5.4% in 2008. Installed electrical generating capacity of renewable sources rose by 19% in 2008, thanks mainly to a 49% increase in offshore wind capacity, a 38% increase in onshore wind capacity and a modest 4% increase in the capacity of sites fuelled by biomass and wastes.

Electricity supplied from nuclear sources continued to decline in 2008, accounting for 47.7 terawatt hours (TWh), or 13% of the total electricity supply of 379 TWh. This is the lowest proportion contributed by nuclear power since 1981.

On the other hand, overall gas demand rose 3.1%, with gas demand for electricity generation rising 6.2%. Gas' share of the UK's supply of electricity was 45%. Conversely, coal consumption fell 7.5% overall in 2008, while there was a 9% decrease in consumption by major power producers, which typically accounts for 82% of total coal demand. About 32% of the electricity generated in the UK came from coal in 2008, down from 34% in 2007.

Last year saw a 0.4% decrease in the total supply of electricity in the UK in 2008 to 399.6 TWh, the third successive year that total electricity supply has fallen. Indigenous electricity supply fell 1.8%, but net imports of electricity more than doubled to 11 TWh caused by both higher imports and lower exports.

Unlike 2007, last year saw the domestic sector becoming the largest electricity consumer (117.8 TWh), while the industrial sector consumed 113.6 TWh. In 2008, domestic consumption increased 2.4%, and industrial consumption decreased 2.9%. The largest energy-consuming industrial sector was Chemical Processing Industry, which accounted for 18% of all industrial energy consumption.


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