The latest Ofgem figures for electricity generation by technology type contain both good and bad news for environmental campaigners.
The good news is that total energy generation – which follows consumption patterns – has been trending down since 2008; most probably as a result ofBritain’s sluggish economic performance since the financial crash. Within the broad trend, coal generation fell from 33.42 Tw/h in quarter 1 of 2008 to 28.16 Tw/h in quarter 1 of 2015; gas fell from 47.61 Tw/h to 21.37 Tw/h over the same period. At the same time, generation from biomass rose from 2.17 Tw/h to 6.02 Tw/h; while generation from wind and solar rose rapidly from 2.22 Tw/h to 12.8 Tw/h.
The bad news is that the figures demonstrate the monumental effort that will be required to wean the UK off our addiction to fossil fuels. Despite making inroads, renewables only account for a third of our electricity generation. And since electricity accounts for just 20 percent of our total energy use – transport and heating account for 40 percent each – we see in these figures the herculean task we have to perform if Britain is to meet its climate change agreements.