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UK Renewables power now larger than coal

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Renewables overtake coal in Q3 electricity generation

The third quarter of 2015 saw a significant 31% increase in renewables generation from the same period in 2014, overtaking coal as the third largest contributor to the UK’s electricity generation, after gas and nuclear power.

Figures included in the Q3 GB Electricity Market Summary, from energy data specialist EnAppSys, showed that during the July-September period, renewables provided 14.3TWh of generation, or 20% of the UK’s 32GW total average daily electricity output.

Levels of renewable generation are now almost twice that of the same period in 2013, representing a 79% increase overall.

The period saw energy generation output from the UK’s coal-fired power stations fall 54% from the same period in 2014, as a result of lower gas prices and summer maintenance outages.

The main drivers in terms of growth in renewable generation are in part due to large increases in solar capacity. Developers have accelerated the building of solar farms to meet subsidy scheme deadlines.

This growth in renewables has somewhat complicated the market resulting in increased levels of oversupply and uncertainty. However, the market is also showing signs of adapting to the resulting higher levels of renewable generation.

Renewables contributed 20.2% of total energy generation. Of this figure, wind produced 41%, biomass 32%, solar PV 20% and 7% from hydro plants.

Paul Verrill, director of EnAppSys, comments: ‘Renewables are increasingly offsetting the decline in coal-fired electricity generation, and are playing an increasing role in meeting Britain’s energy needs as their relative contribution increases.’

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