More than a third (33%) of electricity generation in 2018 was renewable according to government statistics for the year, with just over a half (53%) coming from low-carbon sources. The record numbers in both categories were matched by a dip in electricity generation from coal and gas.
The gain in renewables, up from 29% the previous year was tempered by a reduction in nuclear generation which fell to 20% from 21% as a result of maintenance and outages.
Meanwhile energy consumption for transport remained almost unchanged (down 0.1% compared to the previous year) leaving it as the largest sector for UK energy use by far.
In terms of national energy consumption, figures show this was up 1% from the previous year with domestic emissions and transport accounting for nearly two-thirds of the total. The increase in domestic consumption has been linked by BEIS to the ‘beast from the east’. Once temperature is taken into account there is a marginal decrease in domestic consumption.
The proportion of electricity generated by coal continues to fall and hit an all-time-low of 2.6 million tonnes. Twenty years ago the figure for coal generation was more than 10 times that for 2018.
This most recent set of data provides another chapter in the remarkable fall in the carbon intensity of electricity in the UK over the last 10 years or so. But the absence of any meaningful drop in energy demand in the domestic and transport sectors is more troubling and speaks to the failure of policy in these areas.