Renewable Energy

Renewables to overtake fossil fuels in UK energy mix by 2020

Picture showing newly installed wind farm off the British coast.

According to a report published by EnAppSys, an energy market analyst, renewable energy is set to overtake fossil fuels as the primary source of power during 2020.

Based on current trends, it is expected that renewables will generate approximately 121TWh of electricity during 2020. During the same period, coal and gas plants are forecast to generate a mere 106TWh.

The report stats that during 2018, gas provided 37.6% of the total amount of electricity in the UK, while renewables accounted for 31.2%. Nuclear energy supplied 19.9% of the country’s needs while imports provided 6.3%, just edging over coal at 5%.

Although coal and gas-fired power stations produced a combined 130.9 terawatt hours against 95.9 terawatt hours from renewables in 2018, the figure shows a vast increase from 2017, where renewables produced an extra 12.7 terawatt hours.

The 15% rise is mostly due to a vast amount of offshore wind farms that were commissioned or that entered full operation during the year.

Interestingly, the amount of coal-fired generation has faced an 89% slump since 2012.

Paul Verill, director of EnAppSys, said: “Last year, levels of wind generation displaced conventional power stations and whilst this leaves room for baseload generation it does squeeze levels of output from other generators in the market.”

He continued, saying that: “In the short term at least, wind will continue to be the primary source of renewable generation having produced a record high share of the renewables mix in 2018.”

Despite a large amount of investment, there are still constraints to bear in mind, including the fact conventional power generators still need to adapt to lower levels of activity and the fact that there needs to be solutions sought for loss of income as a result.

Speaking about the subject, Verill said: “With conventional power stations still required to meet peak demand requirements, the suspension of the CM payments that paid them to be available is a concern in terms of ensuring plants are incentivised to remain in the market.

“Against this backdrop, the margins for thermal power generation fell to 2014 price levels as the impact of reduced demand, increased levels of wind generation and very competitive market dynamics placed downward pressure on profits.”

The report comes after it was revealed in November that the installed capacity of renewables had surpassed that of fossil fuels in the UK.

Andy has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years and has been published in some of the UK’s top newspapers. He is now the editor Commercial Waste Magazine and contributes to a large selection of headlines and blog articles on the site.

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