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DECC statistics reveal record renewable generation in 2011

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has published its Energy Trends and Quarterly Energy Prices publications, which provide an outlook over 2011.

The publications show that total energy production stood at a record 13.5 percent lower than in 2010. The Department believes that the steep decline in output was due to oil production hitting a record low alongside the decline in natural gas production, which saw the UK become a gross importer of natural gas for the first time since 1967. The fall in energy production meant that the UK held a net import dependency of 36.5 percent, the highest level since 1976.

The nation’s energy consumption dropped by 7.5 percent due to the milder weather in 2011, with temperatures being 1.8 degrees warmer than 2010. If the national consumption is adjusted to take into account the weather, then primary consumption fell by 2 percent compared to 2010 levels. Domestic consumption saw the steepest fall in consumption, dropping by 18.5 percent.

Low carbon’s contribution to the national energy mix grew by 5.5 percent, from 23 to 28.5 percent thanks to an increase in renewable technology capacity and nuclear. Renewables share of generation reached a record 9.5 percent share of generation, rising 2.5 percentage points from 2010 levels. Hydro generation increased by almost 60 percent in 2011, as a result of increased rainfall, whilst wind’s contribution rose by 54.4 percent. Offshore wind’s contribution rose by nearly 70 percent. Combined, hydro and wind generation was 55 percent higher than in 2010.

Of all electricity generated, gas and coal accounted for 70 percent of the UK’s energy production and nuclear accounted for 19 percent. Nuclear’s share of power in the future could be set to decline after E.ON and RWE announced the abandonment of 6GW of planned nuclear capacity, providing a major setback to Government’s plans for up to 12 new nuclear reactors.

Average annual household electricity bills across all payment types rose by nearly £40 in 2011 to £453. The average UK gas bill rose by over £60 in 2011 to £719. UK domestic gas and electricity prices are the lowest and fourth lowest in the EU respectively.

DECC estimates that UK emissions the six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol in 2011 were 7 percent lower than 2010, standing at 549.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Source: Solar Power Portal

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