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Renewables generated more electricity than gas this winter

02 Mar 2023 4 minute read
Picture: RES.

Renewables generated more electricity than gas this winter and produced enough to power every UK home through the winter, analysis has shown.

Between October 1 and February 28, power generated by wind, hydro and solar reached 47TWh (terawatt hours), according to the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).

Generating the same amount of electricity using gas power stations would have required around 95TWh of gas – equal to 110 tankers of liquified natural gas (LNG) or the amount more than 10 million UK homes would burn over the winter.

Renewably-produced electricity this winter has displaced more than a third of the UK’s entire annual gas demand for power generation, the analysts said.

Without it, the UK would have had to burn more gas which would have potentially increased net gas imports by more than 22%, including gas imported via pipeline.

Jess Ralston, head of energy at ECIU, said: “We’re seeing the old electricity system give way to the new, with renewables becoming the backbone and displacing more and more gas.

“Battery storage is ramping up faster than expected, boosting the UK’s energy security and leaving us less exposed to international gas markets.

“Lifting the ban on onshore wind will help. But with the US and the EU going gangbusters for renewables, eyes are on the Government, the Chancellor and the Budget to decide on how the UK stays an attractive market for the investments that will ultimately bring down bills.”

On Monday, Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps met his US counterpart Jennifer Granholm in London and said he wants to commit the UK to greater energy independence through nuclear and renewables.

Mr Shapps and Ms Granholm want to wean Western countries off Russian oil and gas to undermine Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

They said the huge rise in gas prices after the Russian invasion has shown the need to speed up the move away from fossil fuels.


Emma Pinchbeck, Energy UK’s chief executive, said “we must do everything possible” to encourage and speed up investment in low-carbon power.

She added: “This analysis confirms the ever-growing contribution that homegrown renewable generation is making to power our homes and our businesses.

“We’ve seen the effect that record wholesale gas prices have had on customers’ bills over the last 18 months and it’s underlined the urgency of expanding our supply of cheap, domestic, clean power in order to remove our dependency on expensive fossil fuels – which will strengthen the country’s energy security, cut bills and emissions and boost economic growth.”

In 2022, UK renewables provided 38% of the country’s electricity generation, nearly as much as gas at 40%, and became a net electricity exporter for the first time since 2010.

Wind power

Most clean energy in the UK comes from wind power which is most productive during the winter when winds are stronger.

Other sources of generation, including nuclear and biomass, generated 28TWh over the winter period, the ECIU analysts said.

Using gas power plants instead would have required 56TWh more gas, equivalent to almost five million homes’ annual gas demand or more than 60 LNG tankers.

Battery storage is also set to grow 14-fold with the storage pipeline having increased by five times in the last year.

Europe’s largest grid-scale battery storage facility came online in 2022 and the UK’s pumped hydro storage capacity is set to rise by 130% to 6.5GW.

The UK is still heavily dependent on gas. It supplies 40% of our power and 85% of our heating and UK households have been badly hit by rising gas prices because they are the least energy efficient in western Europe, according to the International Monetary Fund.

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6 months ago

It will be a different story tomorrow.

Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson
6 months ago

Nuclear is just another fossil fuel and an especially dangerous one. Forget it and focus on investment in the production of renewable technologies in Cymru. Welsh owned. That is the future. As was said many years ago, nuclear is a future technology whose time has passed (Minor? Patterson? Loving?).

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