Strong start for UK wind
Sector provides almost 50% of UK’s renewable power in first three months
Wind provided almost half of the UK’s renewable energy in the first quarter of 2016, according to energy specialists EnAppSys.
In the first three months of 2016, wind accounted for 46.1% of the country’s renewable energy (8.66TWh), followed by biomass at 33.2% (6.24TWh), hydro at 13.5% (2.53TWh) and solar at 7.2% (1.35TWh).
Overall, renewable energy provided 22.4% of the UK’s electricity in the first three months of 2016, the second highest level of electricity production after gas.
The figures, which are included in EnAppSys' latest quarterly market report, show renewables generated 18.78TWh during January, February and March.
Natural gas provided 35.4% of the country’s electricity at 29.68TWh, nuclear 19% generating 15.98TWh and coal 16.2% with 13.56TWh. Imports provided a further 7.1%.
It said the figures show an 82% increase in solar and 22% growth in hydro outputs compared with the last quarter's generation.
EnAppSys added that, although biomass output shows relatively modest growth compared with the previous quarter, generation levels have risen 50% over 12 months.
Biomass output is likely to continue to rise for a short time as further coal plant conversions are introduced.
EnAppSys director Paul Verrill said: “The changes we have seen in the market are driving much reduced levels of carbon emissions, with further coal closures and new offshore wind farms likely to extend this trend.
“However, as the market transitions into a low carbon future this has already created certain challenges and how we deal with these changes will prove to be a defining factor in maintaining a secure and low carbon energy future for this country.
“One of the biggest issues facing the market into 2016/17 is the cost incurred to maintain margin until the capacity mechanism comes into full force in October 2018, and how National Grid and the government achieve this without distortion to market operation that can risk jeopardising investment in new build.”
Image: Vestas turbines at The Grange wind farm Lincolnshire (RES)