Renewable power reaches a new high

12 May 2023

Why track your business energy?

Renewable power generated from wind, solar, hydro and biomass sources reached a record high share of the UK’s electricity generation in Q1 2023 accounting for 44% of the mix – excluding imports (1).

Although renewable power output was virtually unchanged at 26TWh from the same quarter last year, wind and solar output increased by more than 9% year-on-year.

When looking at the heating season (October 2022 to March 2023), wind power also produced a record high share of the UK’s energy at 31% (excluding imports).

Wind is regarded as one of the cheapest power generating technologies and it continues to attract substantial amounts of support and investment. For instance, the UK government’s fifth Contracts for Difference (CfD) funding round includes £170m for established technologies such as offshore wind (2).

renewable vs no-renewal Q1 23
uk power q1 23

The increase in wind output coincided with reduced gas usage for electricity generation. Demand for gas decreased by 5% in Q1 2023 vs the same period in 2022. Overall, gas continues to account for around 40% of the energy mix in the UK.

Nuclear saw a 22% decrease in output this quarter when compared to the same period in 2022. Lower nuclear generation was driven partially by Sizewell B (1.2 GW) being offline since mid-February for a refuelling and maintenance programme. However, nuclear remains vital to the UK with the Chancellor of Exchequer recently announcing a fresh push into nuclear power and plans to classify it as “environmentally sustainable” to attract private investment (3).

In Q1 2023, the UK returned to being a net importer of electricity, in contrast to much of 2022 when the country became a net exporter as a result of extreme energy market conditions (4).

The UK imported 9.3TWh of power from the continent during the first quarter of this year, which accounted for 13% of the total generation mix. The bulk of this came from France and Norway via interconnectors.

(1)UK power generation by fuel type: BMRS Reports Elexon and solar generation from Sheffield Solar

(2)UK Government confirms £205 million budget for first annual CfD auction, Current News 16 March 2023

(3)Jeremy Hunt wants nuclear power classed as ‘sustainable’: is it?, The Guardian 16 March 2023

(4)GB becomes net importer of electricity in Q1 2023, says EnAppSys, Current News 26 April 2023

The views, opinions and positions expressed within the British Gas Business Blog are those of the author alone and do not represent those of British Gas. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this blog are not guaranteed. British Gas accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright in the content within the British Gas Business Blog belongs to the authors of such content and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them. See the Fuel mix used to generate our electricity. Read about making a complaint about your business energy.