UK renewables generated more electricity than gas this winter, think tank claims

UK-based renewables generated more electricity than gas this winter, the energy think tank claims.

According to the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), between 1 October 2022 and 28 February 2023, electricity generated by wind, hydro and solar will reach 47 terawatt hours (TWh), It slightly exceeds the power produced by gas. over the same period.

Other power sources, including nuclear and biomass, generated 28 TWh over the winter, the group said.

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An aerial image shows the Sycamore Farm solar farm in Old Romeny, South East England, on 18th April 2022. (Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images)

Official data suggests that the UK’s renewable power capacity increased by 3.4 GW in 2022 alone. This is reflected in the growth of renewable energy generation, which increased by 4 TWh this winter compared to the same period last year, the EUIU said.

ECIU Energy Director Jess Ralston said: Battery storage is growing faster than expected, strengthening the UK’s energy security and reducing its exposure to international gas markets.

“The lifting of the ban on onshore wind will help. But as the US and EU take a big hit on renewables, governments, prime ministers and budgets are determined to make the UK an attractive market for investment that will ultimately lower bills. We are focused on determining how to continue to exist.”

energy independence

The UK government sees the development of renewable energy as part of its strategy to strengthen the country’s energy independence.

UK Energy Security Secretary Grant Shaps, who met with US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in London on Monday, said the UK needed greater energy independence following Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. .

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Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero Grant Shaps leaving Downing Street, London, February 27, 2023 (James Manning/PA Media)

He said this meant “powering the UK from the UK” by switching to domestic energy sources, including nuclear and renewables.

Shaps said: “The war has shown Britain, the United States and nations around the world that they need more than ever to be energy self-sufficient, with a move away from fossil fuels and toward homegrown sources such as renewables and nuclear power. rice field.”

Granholm said the U.S. government “is acutely aware that continued overreliance on fossil fuels jeopardizes energy security and the solution lies in diversifying fuel sources through the deployment of clean energy.” There are,’ he said.

Reliability concerns

The UK government sees wind power as a key component of its long-term energy strategy.

In September 2020, then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the United Nations that there were “huge gusts of wind” raging over Britain and he wanted to turn the country into a wind-powered “Saudi Arabia.”

But unlike Saudi oil, wind power fluctuates with the weather in the UK as well. As a result, its reliability has always been a concern.

In September 2021, weak winds prevented the wind farms from generating as much power as expected, forcing the UK to start up coal-fired power plants to ensure electricity supply.

The UK’s National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has commissioned energy company EDF to start West Burton A, EDF’s only coal-fired power plant, which the company has decided to retire in September 2022. .

After the war broke out in Ukraine, the UK government, which pledged in 2021 to stop using coal for power generation from October 2024, will ask EDF to consider whether it can keep the West Burton A power plant running. reportedly requested that

A government spokesperson said in March 2022:

“The operation of UK coal-fired power plants is ultimately a commercial matter and we have not made a formal request to EDF.”

Increase in US gas imports

Despite US and UK government goals to transition to renewable energy, the US significantly increased its liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to the UK and continental Europe last year.

Kpler data shows that in the first 11 months of 2022, US LNG exports to Europe will rise by more than 137% from the same period in 2021, supplying more than half of Europe’s LNG imports, with the region growing to 54 Helped us survive more than climate change. The plummeting rate of pipe shipments from Russia.

In December, Downing Street announced a new UK-US Energy Security and Affordability Partnership. Under the partnership, the US aims to export at least 9-10 billion cubic meters of LNG over the next year through UK terminals. Level to be exported in 2021.

According to the UK government, the initiative has “short-term goals” of stabilizing energy markets and reducing demand, while building long-term resilience by accelerating the transition to “clean” alternative energy sources. trying to build

This includes promoting nuclear fuel as a “safe” and “reliable” part of the transition, promoting the development of clean hydrogen, and promoting international investment in offshore wind power and carbon capture.

PA Media contributed to this report.