UK renewable electricity generation reached 47 terawatt-hours between Oct. 1 last year and Feb. 28 this year, enough to power all UK homes for the winter or more than 16 million UK homes annually, according to a new analysis from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit's (ECIU) Winter Power Tracker released Thursday.
The UK's electricity generation from wind, hydro and solar increased by 4 terawatt-hours this winter compared to the same period last year, slightly exceeding gas-powered generation.
According to the analysis, the corresponding gas power would have required approximately 95 terawatt-hours of gas, equivalent to the gas consumption of over 10 million UK homes in winter, or 110 tankers of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
"During the winter, renewables will displace the equivalent of more than a third of the UK's entire annual gas demand for power generation, 35%. Without these renewables, the UK would have used more gas for power generation, potentially increasing net gas imports by 22%, including increasing imports via pipelines by 28%," according to the ECIU.
Other sources, such as nuclear and biomass, generated 28 terawatt-hours in the UK during the winter. These sources would require 56 terawatt-hours more gas, which is equivalent to the annual gas demand of nearly 5 million homes, or more than 60 LNG tankers.
"We are seeing the old electricity system give way to the new, with renewables becoming the backbone and displacing more and more gas," Jess Ralston, Head of Energy at ECIU, said in the analysis.
Grant Shapps, the secretary of state for energy security and net zero, stated earlier that the UK's renewable power capacity increased by 3.4 gigawatts last year.
"Battery storage is ramping up faster than expected, boosting the UK's energy security and leaving us less exposed to international gas markets. Lifting the ban on onshore wind will help, but with the US and the EU going gangbusters for renewables, eyes are on the Government, the Chancellor and the Budget to decide on how the UK stays an attractive market for the investments that will ultimately bring down bills," Ralston noted.
The UK is more reliant on gas than any other country in Europe, accounting for 40% of electricity generation and 85% of home heating, making UK households the hardest hit by rising energy costs.
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