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UK renewable energy statistics 2023

This page is packed full of renewable energy statistics for 2023, covering green energy production, consumption and capacity in the UK.
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The 15 March 2023 was a noteworthy day in the history of UK green energy. It was the day the UK produced its trillionth kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity from renewable sources – enough energy to power UK homes for 12 years. And although there is still a lot of work left to do, we can be positive as the UK produces more renewable energy than ever before.

So, as the country looks forward to a net zero future, and leaves behind a past of pollution and environmental degradation, what better time to produce the definitive UK renewable energy statistics page for 2023.

Across this page, we’ll look at the UK’s renewable energy generation, consumption, and capacity and break down renewable sources to see how their production has expanded over the last three decades.

Top 10 UK renewable energy statistics 2023

  • In 2022, less than a quarter (24%) of the UK’s energy was produced by wind power.

  • Solar energy made up 11% of the UK’s renewable energy production in 2023.

  • Throughout 2022, England produced just over half (52%) of the UK’s renewable energy.

  • Between 2012 and 2022, the UK’s wind energy capacity more than tripled from 9,030 to 28,537 megawatts.

  • Since 2003, the number of wind energy sites has increased from 166 to 10,043.

  • In 2022, solar energy produced 13,283 gigawatts of electricity.

  • In 2018, the UK consumed more than one exajoule of renewable energy for the first time ever.

  • As of 2022, around two-fifths (41.8%) of the UK’s energy came from renewable sources.

  • Between 2007 and 2022, the UK’s renewable energy capacity increased almost tenfold from 5,745 to 53,500 megawatts.

  • The UK’s low carbon economy’s turnover increased by around a third (34%) from 2015 to 2022.

How much renewable energy does the UK produce?

UK renewable energy statistics indicate that as little as 20 years ago, green energy was a relatively insignificant part of the UK’s industrial strategy. Today, things are more efficient with over 40% of the UK’s energy now coming from renewable sources.

Total breakdown of UK renewable energy production

In 2022, the UK generated 325,257 GWh of renewable energy. The UK’s leading source of green energy for this year was gas, which produced almost two-fifths (38%) of the UK’s total energy production for 2022.

A breakdown of total UK renewable energy production in 2022

SourceElectricity generated (GWh)
Hydro (natural flow)5,640
Total wind80,257
Onshore wind35,237
Offshore wind45,020
Shoreline wave / tidal11
Thermal renewables35,820
Other fuels7,765
Pumped storage1,992
Total all generating companies325,257
(Source: GOV.UK)

The leading source of UK renewable energy in 2022 was wind (80,257 GWh), which was almost two-thirds (64%) of the amount of energy generated by gas for the year. Considering that the equivalent figure in 1996 was 0.5%, this shows that the UK has made great strides in its renewable energy production.

In all, close to a quarter (24%) of the UK’s total electricity is generated by wind.

UK renewable energy statistics also show that thermal renewable power is becoming an increasingly important source of energy, as the second highest source of UK green energy in 2022 . It generated 35,820 GWh for the year, equivalent to 10.8% of total UK energy production in 2022.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the UK’s reliance on coal has fallen dramatically since the mid-nineties. In 1996, the UK was still generating 145,216 GWh of energy from coal, yet now that figure has fallen to just 5,576 GWh.

UK renewable energy production 

UK renewable energy statistics show that the UK produced 111.87 KW of renewable energy in 2022. Of this energy, more than half (53%) came from wind. The second highest producer of renewable energy was bioenergy, which produced almost a third (31%) of the UK’s energy in 2022. 

A breakdown of UK renewable energy production 2022

A square grid showing the renewable sources that produce the most energy.

As of 2022, solar energy produced just over a tenth of the UK’s renewable energy, making it the third-highest producer of green energy for the year. However, the UK produces more than five times as much wind energy as it does solar.

Of the other sources of renewable energy, hydropower produces 5% of the UK’s total green energy, while marine energy makes up as little as 0.008%.

UK renewable energy production by country

UK renewable energy statistics show that England is the UK’s leading producer of renewable energy. In 2022, England produced 1.5 times more renewable energy than Scotland. At the same time, it produced 8.75 times more energy than Wales and 9.95 times that of Northern Ireland.

A breakdown of the renewable energy produced by the four nations in the UK

Energy produced (KW)
Northern Ireland4,222,305
United Kingdom80,449,219
(Source: Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

In 2022, the UK produced over half (52%) of the renewable energy in the UK. By contrast, Scotland produced 35% of the UK’s energy, while for Wales it was 5.9% and Northern Ireland 5.2%.

Statistics on different types of renewable energy in the UK

UK wind energy statistics 2023

As identified by our energy statistics page, wind energy is the UK’s leading source of renewable energy. Wind energy statistics for 2023 show that the UK’s wind power capacity has increased substantially in the last ten years.

As recently as 2012, the UK’s wind power capacity was as little as 9,030 MW, but within the space of five years, this had increased by 116.8%, to 19,585 MW.

A breakdown of the UK’s wind energy capacity between 2012 and 2022

A breakdown of the UK’s wind energy capacity between 2012 and 2022.

Between 2017 and 2022, the UK’s wind energy capacity increased by an average of 7.9% year-on-year. By 2021, the UK had a wind energy capacity of 28,537 MW, making it more than three times higher than the capacity in 2012.

A breakdown of the number of UK sites producing wind energy between 2003 and 2021

Area graph showing the number of wind energy producing sites in the UK.

UK wind energy statistics from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy show that in 2003, there were just 166 wind farms and energy sites in the UK. In as little as six years, this number expanded by 953%, to 1,748.

In 2013, there were close to four times as many wind energy sites (6,741), as there were in 2009. The rate has since slowed slightly, increasing by just 0.06% between 2019 and 2021. Despite this, the UK still has more wind energy sites than ever before, with 10,043 spread across the country, as of 2021.

UK solar power statistics 2023

2020 marked the first year in which renewable energy became the UK’s leading electricity resource, with 43% of electricity coming from green sources. Across the previous two decades, UK production of nearly all types of renewable energy has skyrocketed.

A breakdown of the generation of electricity through solar photovoltaic power in the United Kingdom from 2011 to 2022

Horizontal bar charts showing the electricity generated by solar photovoltaic power.

Solar power has become an integral part of the UK’s renewable energy strategy, as indicated by recent solar power statistics. As of 2011, the UK generated as little as 244 GWh from solar power. By 2016, this figure was over 40 times higher, hitting 10,395 GWh.

Between 2016 and 2017, solar power production increased by just 10.2% – by 2018, it rose again by 10.7%. 2019 was the first year UK solar power production decreased, albeit by just 2.1%.

As of 2022, UK solar power production increased once again, to an all-time high of 13,283GWh.

A breakdown of the number of UK solar-generating sites between 2007 and 2021

Vertical bar chart showing the number of solar generating sites between 2007 and 2021.

UK solar panel statistics reveal that the number of sites producing solar energy has increased at a rapid rate. In all, there are 675 times more solar panel sites in 2021 than there were in 2007.

The most substantial increase in UK solar panel sites came between 2009 and 2011. In the space of just two years, the number of UK solar panel sites rose by over 5,000%, from 4,537 to 234,827, respectively.

In recent years, the rate of growth has been less swift but still steady. Between 2019 and 2021, the number of UK solar panel sites increased, by around 9.3%, to just over 1.1 million.

UK hydropower statistics 2023

Hydropower remains one of the oldest and largest sources of renewable energy in the UK, making use of the natural flow of moving water to generate electricity. Unlike other forms of renewable energy, the production of UK hydropower has not substantially increased in recent years. 

A breakdown of the electricity generated from small-scale and large-scale hydro in the UK from 2010 to 2022

Butterfly chart showing the difference between small scale and large hydro generation.

UK Renewable energy statistics show that in 2012, the UK generated 5,310 GWh of hydroelectricity. By 2022, this number had increased, but only fractionally, to 5,640 GWh.

The most noteworthy development is the increase in electricity generated by small-scale hydro projects in the 10-year period. From 2012 to 2016, the UK’s small-scale hydropower production increased by close to 50%, from 678 GWh to 1,016 GWh. This continued in the coming years, and by 2022 small-scale hydropower was producing almost two-fifths (39%) more GWh of hydropower than in 2016.

UK bioenergy statistics 2023

Bioenergy is a lesser known but still vitally important source of renewable energy in the UK. Bioenergy is produced by burning harvest residues, purpose-grown crops, and organic waste in order to generate electricity. 

A breakdown of UK bioenergy generation from 2012 to 2022

Line graph showing bioenergy generation from 2012 to 2022.

Bioenergy production statistics show that the UK has embraced this renewable energy source, but not quite to the same extent as solar or wind energy. Between 2012 and 2020, the UK’s bioenergy production increased by 171.8%, from 14,734 GWh to 40,047 GWh.

Many renewable sources were affected by the impacts of Covid-19 lockdowns, and bioenergy was no exception. 2021 was the first recent year in which the production of bioenergy decreased, falling by 10.8% from 40,047 to 35,820 GWh.

UK landfill energy facts 2023

Landfill facts show that the UK hasn’t embraced this form of renewable energy compared to others, with its overall production decreasing between 2011 and 2021. 

A breakdown of electricity generated from landfill gas in the United Kingdom (2011-2021)

Area graph showing the electricity generated by landfill gas in the UK between 2011 and 2021.

In 2011, the UK generated 5,318 GWh from landfill gas, yet by 2017 this had decreased by 11%, to 4,703.

As of 2021, landfill energy data suggests that there is no sign of this trend halting. Between 2017 and 2018, electricity generated by the source fell by 8.6%, and then again in 2019, it fell by 7.5%. Overall, total UK electricity generated by landfill has decreased by almost two-fifths (37%) since 2011.

UK sewage gas statistics 2023

Data from the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy indicates that electricity generated by sewage gas has steadily increased in the UK since 2012. Despite falling from 775 GWh in 2011, to 739 GWh in 2012, the electricity generated by sewage gas in the UK quickly picked up from 2013 onwards. 

A breakdown of sewage gas energy production in the UK from 2011 to 2021

Rounded bar chart showing the electricity generated by sewage gas from 2011 to 2021.

Between 2012 and 2016, the electricity generated in the UK from sewage gas rose by 28%, increasing from 739 GWh to 950 GWh. Sewage gas production statistics then show that the amount of electricity generated increased incrementally up until 2020. In the year that followed, overall production diminished, but only by 1.87%.

UK renewable energy vs. fossil fuels production statistics

As recently as 1996, the UK produced 40 times more energy from fossil fuels than it did from renewable energy sources. Since then, the percentage of renewable energy production in the UK has risen substantially, to the degree that it now exceeds the once insurmountable fossil fuel industry.

UK renewable energy percentage of total energy production

In 2012, renewable energy made up just 11.34% of total UK energy production. However, as the decade continued, the UK began to produce more renewable energy, while the total amount of energy remained relatively stable.

A breakdown showing renewable energy production as a percentage of all energy produced

Total generating companyTotal renewable generationPercentage of energy produced by renewables
(Source: Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

Between 2014 and 2017, the total amount of energy produced by the UK increased by only 0.02%. During the same time, the UK’s renewable energy production grew from 64,523 GWh to 98,879 GWh, an increase of 53.6%.

In 2018, the UK’s total production of renewable energy exceeded 100,000 GWh for the first time. It was also the first year where green energy sources made up at least a third of the UK’s total energy production. 

The percentage of renewable energy produced in the UK peaked in 2020, at 42.67%. Since then, it has reduced only slightly. As of 2022, this percentage stood at 41.5%.

UK fossil fuels vs. renewable energy sources over time

Before the environment was so high on the political agenda, there was a much larger discrepancy between the total amount of fossil fuels used in comparison to the total consumption of renewable energy. 

In 1996, just 6,102 GWh of renewable energy was generated in the UK, compared to 244,257 GWh of energy from fossil fuels.

A breakdown of total fossil fuels used vs. total renewable fuel used in the UK between 1996 and 2022

Total fossil fuel generatedTotal renewable generationDisparity between fossil fuel and renewable energy generation
(Source: Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

The gap in generation between the two gradually widened up until a peak in 2008, when 285,489 GWh more energy was generated by fossil fuels in comparison to renewable energy.

From then onwards there was a shift, as between 2010 and 2014, renewable energy generation increased by 146% from 26,180 GWh to 64,523 GWh. During the same time frame, fossil fuel energy generation declined by 29%.

In 2020, the battle between fossil fuels vs. renewable energy sources turned, with renewables now producing more energy than fossil fuels. As of 2022, the UK generates 2,246 GWh more energy from renewable sources than it does from fossil fuels.

How much renewable energy does the UK use?

UK green energy consumption by year

As the UK’s production and generation of renewable energy has increased, it’s no surprise that so has the consumption. UK green energy consumption statistics show that in 2002, the UK consumed just 0.06 exajoules of renewable energy. An exajoule is unit of measurement to measure energy and is equal to 10(18) joules.

In the space of just five years, this figure increased by 150%, to 0.15 exajoules in 2007. This trend continued, with green energy consumption increasing every year up until 2015.

A breakdown of how the UK’s renewable energy consumption has increased between 2002 and 2022

Vertical bar chart showing that renewable energy has increased between 2002 and 2022.

In 2018, the UK consumed more than one exajoule of renewable energy for the first time ever. The only year in which renewable energy consumption dropped was in 2021, when it fell by 0.11 exajoules. Data from 2022 shows that the UK consumed 1.36 exajoules, 22 times more than what the country was consuming twenty years prior.

UK renewable energy capacity

UK renewable energy capacity statistics show that across all four home nations, capacity increased dramatically between 2007 and 2022. In 2007, the UK’s renewable energy capacity was 5,745.60 MW, but by 2012, this had increased almost three-fold, to 15,648.60. 

A breakdown of UK renewable energy capacity (MW) by country between 2007 and 2022

Northern Ireland2164991,5571,958
UK total5,74515,64840,29253,502
(Source: Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

Between 2012 and 2017, the UK’s renewable energy capacity increased by 157%, hitting a record high of 40,292.60 MW. Over the next five years, the pace of change was less considerable, rising by around a third (32%) to 53,502.90.

Over time, the UK has become more reliant on England’s renewable energy capacity. In 2007, just under two-fifths (39%) of the UK’s renewable capacity was in England, but by 2022, this figure had risen to almost two-thirds (63%). This is because England’s capacity had increased by 1,386%, whereas Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland had only risen by 806%, 544%, and 424%, respectively.

Visit our Green Energy guides section for expert advice on a range of topics that will help you reduce your carbon footprint at home.

Economic benefits of the switch to green energy

Swapping fossil fuels for renewable energy isn’t just better for the environment. It also acts as a boost to the economy by creating new jobs and infrastructure. Reports suggest that the UK could gain an extra £70bn if it becomes a global leader in renewable energy.

A breakdown of UK jobs in low-carbon production between 2015 and 2021

Horizontal bar chart showing how the number of low carbon jobs between 2015 and 2021.

UK renewable energy statistics identifies that the embrace of renewable energy has helped strengthen the economy, by creating close to 50,000 new jobs between 2015 and 2021. In 2015, 200,500 people were employed in jobs producing renewable energy. This figure steadily grew, rising 8.6% by 2018. 

In 2019, there was a brief fall in the number of jobs in the low-carbon and renewable energy economy, with a reduction of 12,400 jobs.

By 2021, around 247,400 people had jobs in the green energy sector – a rise of almost a quarter (23%) from 2015. 

A breakdown of UK low-carbon turnover between 2015 and 2021

Pictogram graph showing LCREE turnover between 2015 and 2021.

In 2015, turnover in the low-carbon economy was £40.2 billion, which steadily rose by 15% to £46.3 billion in 2018.

There was a slight fall in turnover in 2019, dropping by just £0.5 billion. The reduction in 2020 was more dramatic, with turnover dropping by close to a tenth (9.2%).

However, this was followed by the most significant year of growth in the low-carbon economy, with turnover rising by close to £13 billion in a single year. This means that between 2015 and 2021, turnover in the low-carbon economy increased by more than a third (35.3%). With a further £100 billion set to be invested in UK renewable energy in the coming years, it looks a near certainty that this trend will continue.

Hitting the 2050 net zero target

In June 2019, the UK became the first major economy to put in place a legally binding target to bring greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. 

To drastically bring down emissions the UK will need to:

  • Reduce the use of fossil fuels.

  • Improve energy efficiency.

  • Reduce waste.

  • Increase the use of zero-emission vehicles

A breakdown showing that the UK is on course to reduce emissions to net zero

Line graph showing the goals the UK needs to reach to hit net zero by 2050.

The latest green energy statistics suggest that, thanks to the rise in the use of renewable energy, the UK is on course to hit its target of being net zero by 2050.

In 1990, the UK emitted 793.8 million tonnes of CO2. By 2000, this figure had reduced by 10.8%, to 707.9 million tonnes. Even by 2010, the UK was emitting more than 601 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. However, there was cause for optimism as across the two decades to follow, carbon emissions fell by close to a quarter (24%). 

A 34% reduction between 2010 and 2020 in emissions showcased again that the target of getting to net zero was not an unrealistic one. It’s hoped that by 2030, the UK will have dropped its emissions by a further 35%, before an additional 52% reduction in the 10 years to follow. By this point, if the UK is on track, it’ll need to reduce its emissions by a further 120 million tonnes in the last decade before 2050, in order to meet its intended target of net zero.

A breakdown of the financial burden of reaching net zero for the UK economy between 2020 and 2050

Comparative line graph showing the potential economic impacts of targeting net zero.

Critics of the push for net zero argue that transitioning the UK away from carbon is too expensive, and will have a severely detrimental impact on the economy.

However, data from the Financial Times suggests that the impact on GDP may not be as high as once feared. In the worst-case scenario, the transition to net zero will cost the UK 0.99% of its GDP. 

And even then, in the short-term, the transition to net zero will cost the UK a maximum of 0.18% of its GDP over the next five years.  

The most likely scenario is that the race to net zero will have shrunk the UK economy by 0.58% by 2045, but from there the expected average drops by 0.48% by 2050.

At the other end of the spectrum, it’s projected that due to lower costs and the jobs created by embracing renewable energy, the hit to the UK may only be as bad as 0.46%.

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