Green electricity generation increased by 10% in the first quarter of 2013, compared to the same period the year before.
According to the figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), hydro generation dropped by 32% from the year before at 1.9TWh.
This could be partially explained by the fact that rainfall in the main hydro areas was found to be down by some 21% on a year earlier. What’s more, Scotland also saw its driest March for 60 years.
Wind energy enjoyed a good year
However, wind energy saw a significant rise. Electricity generated from onshore wind increased by 13 per cent in the first quarter of the year, jumping from 3.6TWh in Q1 2012 to 4.0TWh. What’s more, generation from offshore wind rocketed by 68% on the year before, going from 1.5TWh to 2.5TWh.
It is believed that these increases are mainly due to significantly increased capacity on a year earlier, as well as the fact that wind speeds were only slightly lower.
The analysis also revealed that in 2013, Q1 generation from bioenergy was up by 69%. This is largely due to Tilbury biomass station being fully operational in the current quarter.
Co-firing generation fell by 80% as coal stations are burning much less biomass with coal.
Bioenergy had largest share of generation
In the first quarter of 2013, bioenergy had the largest share of generation (standing at 34%). Thirty-two per cent of generation came from onshore wind and 20% from offshore wind.
This is good news for those in the renewables industry, who are no doubt concerned that investment in green energy could be hit, despite the rise in wind farm subsidies.
The government’s announcement of a ten per cent rise in subsidy has failed to eliminate concerns of energy companies over uncertainties in policy.
Subsidies for wind farms, which bill payers will fund, will rise by almost ten per cent from next year under the government’s electricity market reforms.
However, uncertainties under the new initiative could mean that renewable energy companies still find it impossible to invest, according to experts.
The government has failed to reach a deal with nuclear operator EDF on what level of support it should have from bill payers for new reactors.
Uncertainty ‘putting off investors’
Due to this uncertainty, wind turbine operators and manufacturers have been holding off on making substantial investments in the UK. They are concerned that as nothing is set in stone yet, subsidies will be cut to unsustainable levels.
The ‘strike price’, or draft subsidy level, has been set at £155 per megawatt hour for offshore wind farms from 2014, but this price will drop to £135 in 2018.
Onshore wind farms, on the other hand, will pay £100, falling to £95 in 2018, as these are cheaper to build and run.
Ed Davey, secretary for energy and climate change, commented that these changes will help to ease financial strain on consumers, even though these subsidies will be added to them. According to the politician, these measures will save households £5 billion by the year 2030, as it will cut the UK’s reliance on imported fossil fuel energy.