2012 a strong year for renewables, says REA

REA new
2012 was a strong year for the performance of renewable energy generation, according to the Renewable Energy Association (REA).

Citing government figures, the REA says that 11.3 percent of the UK’s electricity last year was generated from renewables overall, and 12.5 percent in the fourth quarter.

It adds that much of this growth is due to new on- and offshore wind farms, in spite of lower than average wind speeds over the year. 2012 was also fairly dry, meaning less output from hydro. Biomass generation increased 17 percent, largely thanks to Tilbury’s conversion to biomass, and the capacity of solar PV increased 70 percent, up to 1.7GW. Total UK renewable power capacity now stands at 15.5GW.

REA chief executive, Gaynor Hartnell, said: “Renewables now generate more than 10 percent of our electricity on average. Compared to 2011, generation from onshore and offshore wind increased by 15 percent and 46 percent respectively, while solar PV capacity is up 70 percent. The conversion of Tilbury also shows what a big difference biomass can make, especially at a time when the Government is desperate to bring forward affordable, baseload, low carbon generation.”

RenewableUK also commented on the figures with director of external affairs, Jennifer Webber, adding: “These new figures provide further proof that the transition from old-school fossil fuels to modern low-carbon generation is surging ahead. A record 1.2 gigawatts of new onshore and offshore wind was installed in 2012. Wind now has the capacity to power more than four and three-quarter million British homes using our greatest natural resource.  That’s an achievement the UK can be proud of – but we have the potential to do much more.  

“This is a crucial year for the entire energy sector, as the ground-breaking Energy Bill is going through parliament. These latest statistics make a strong case for Parliament to do everything in its power to encourage the upward trajectory of renewables. That means pinning down the fine details of the new framework, providing clarity on every aspect of financial support, and setting out a clear industrial strategy for offshore wind beyond 2020, to demonstrate the government’s long term commitment to clean up the way we generate the UK’s electricity.”