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UK has record year for renewables - but fossil fuels still grew

  • Publish Date: Posted over 1 year ago
  • Author: Steve Walia

​The latest figures show that 40% of Britain's energy needs came from renewable energy in 2022, with the main sources being wind, biomass, solar and hydro. Total generation figures for the UK have grown more than fourfold over the past ten years.


However, there is still plenty of work to be done in the drive to go green. Fossil fuels still make up the majority share of energy generation, at 42%. In fact, fossil fuels represented the largest contributor to the UK's total fuel mix in six years.


The energy generation figures were flagged up in a report produced by Imperial College London, on behalf of Drax Electric Insights. Lead author, Iain Staffel, said that 2022 had been a pivotal and challenging year for the energy industry, particularly after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.


Gas prices have surged on the back of supply issues from Russia, and the UK was forced to continue running coal power stations to ensure the country had enough energy during the winter peak. This occurred as Britain imported no gas in 2022, compared to 2021's figure of 8 per cent, according to Drax. The switch to extend the working lifespan of coal-fired power stations was also seen across Europe.


Drax is the biggest clean energy producer by output in the UK. However, it is also responsible for the largest source of carbon emissions in Britain, all of which are emitted from a single energy plant.


For the UK as a whole, the picture of progress is mixed and far more work needs to be done to transition the UK energy sector and to move away from external, unreliable imports of gas. 2023 will be a very interesting year for the UK's energy mix.