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Renewable generation overtakes coal in UK mix

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World Coal,

Coal’s share in the UK energy mix fell to 22% in 2015, according to new statistics from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS), lower than renewable generation, which rose to 25% of the mix. In 2014, coal generated 30% of the UK’s energy.

Natural gas generation led the mix with a 29% share, broadly similar with 2014’s level. Final consumption of electricity was 303 TWh, level with 2014 at its lowest point since 1995.

Renewable generation increased by 29% to 84 TWh between 2014 and 2015, according to the DBEIS figures, on the back of increased solar and wind capacity. Combined, wind and solar accounted for 48 TWh, a year-on-year increase of 33%.

Solar photovoltaic jumped by 78% in 2015 to 7.6 GWh. Capacity increased by 69% to 9.2 GW at the end of 2015, compared to 5.4 GW in 2014.

Hydro generation was also by 6.7%, while generation from bio-energy rose 30% on the back of the conversion of a third unit at Drax from coal to hi-range biomass cofiring.

Coal generation, meanwhile, fell by 25% from 100 TWh in 2014 to 76 TWh in 2015, following the closure of several power plants.

Since the beginning of 2015, 3660 MW of coal-fired generation capacity has been closed in the UK, while a 645 MW unit a Drax has been converted from coal to hi-range biomass cofiring.

Total UK generating capacity was 2.7 GW lower at the end of 2015 at 81 GW. The UK remained a net importer of electricity, with imports contributing 5.8% of electricity supply.

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