The UK Government has released new data on energy generation and consumption during 2020, revealing that fossil fuel production dropped to new lows as demand dipped due to Covid-19 restrictions affecting the transport sector.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) latest Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) provided an in-depth overview in energy trends last year, tracking how investment, generation and consumption was affected by three national lockdowns.
The Digest showed that the proportion of fossil fuels in the energy mix reached a record low in 2020, dropping to 37.7%. In comparison, the proportion was 75.4% in 2010. Most of this portion was accounted for by natural gas; coal’s proportion dropped to just 1.8%. In comparison, coal’s share was 28.2% in 2010.
The decline in fossil fuels has been accredited, in the main, to a decrease in demand from the transport sector. Transport fuel demand dropped 29% year-on-year. The demand decline was the largest in aviation, falling 60% year-on-year.
At the same time, the proportion of the energy mix accounted for by renewables reached a record 43.1%. BEIS stated that in 2020 it marked the first time that proportional growth of renewables outpaced that of fossil fuels. When nuclear and other low-carbon energies are added, 59.3% of the generation mix is accounted for.
The fastest-growing renewable energy sub-sector was offshore wind, which saw a 27% increase in generation capacity on a year-on-year basis. Of all renewable energy sub-sectors, only biogas saw a reduction in generation. BEIS has attributed this to falling extraction rates at landfill sites.
The publication of this edition of the DUKES comes a month after the UK Government officially brought the ban on coal-fired electricity generation forward by one year, to 1 October 2024.
Last month, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) warned the Government that it does not currently have a coherent plan to reduce emissions this decade, largely due to a lack of clarity on the direction of policy travel. While the Government has subsequently published the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, other policy packages, including the Hydrogen Strategy and Heat and Buildings Strategy, remain outstanding.
With the ban of gas boilers taking affect in all new homes from 2025, it has never been a better time to future proof your home.
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