Renewable sources set new records for UK electricity generation last year, beaten only by 2020’s year of peak lockdown.
Wind, hydro and solar together accounted for 33% of output in 2022, according to figures released today by National Grid ESO.
Add in more controversial biomass, and that share rises to 38.2%, a total narrowly behind the 38.5% from gas, still the UK’s single biggest source.
Nuclear’s 15.5% contribution pushed the combined proportion of all low-carbon sources to 53.7% of UK electricity generation.
Wind’s records fell repeatedly. February was its most sustained month, contributing 41.4% of electricity, against the technology’s 26.8% averaged over all of 2022.
In November its output for the first time breached the 20GW benchmark. 30 December’s total of 20.918GW was UK turbines’ third record in the year.
Electricity storage, provided by the emerging grow parc of installed mega batteries, yielded only 0.9%. Coal, spinning in backup as gas surged in prices, contributed 1.5%. Ten years ago its share was 43%.
The grid’s carbon intensity across all sources averaged 182 grammes of CO2 per kWh in 2022, beaten only by 2020, a year blighted by Britain’s fiercest ever shutdowns, induced by Covid.
Last February saw monthly intensity bottoming out at 126 grammes of CO2 per kWh. Negligible commercial activity on Boxing Day pushed the figure still lower, to 39 grammes of CO2 per kWh.
Floors and ceilings for demand during 2022 came respectively with 15GW of power consumed in the early hours of 12 June, and 46 GW at teatime on 15 December.