Historically the UK has burned fossil fuels to make electricity. How has that changed in 2022 and how can we generate more electricity through renewables? What are the UK’s main electricity sources in 2022?
Where does the UK get its electricity from in 2022?
In August 2022, the UK imported 2001 gigawatts of electricity and exported 3901 gigawatts (GW) (National Grid ESO). A gigawatt is equal to 1,000 megawatts or one million kilowatts or a billion watts.
47.7% of that came from burning natural gas, 15.9% from wind power, 15.1% from nuclear energy, 7.2% from solar power, 6.2% from biomass, 4.5% was imported, 1.3% came from storage, 1.2% came from hydroelectric schemes and 0.9% from coal.
The UK has reduced the use of coal from 2.02% in March 2020, but increased natural gas from 35.49%.
39% of electricity in August 2022 came from zero carbon sources but these figures clearly show how dependent the UK still is in 2022 on burning fossil fuels.
How can the UK produce more electricity from zero carbon sources?
Let’s look at the top three zero carbon energy sources:
Wind – Wind is the second biggest generator of electricity in the UK after natural gas. We can generate approximately 23 gigawatts of wind powered electricity right now and the UK has plans for more offshore wind farms.
Dogger Bank, currently being built by SSE Renewables, will be the world’s biggest offshore wind farm when completed in 2026. The wind farm will be capable of generating 3.6 GW, which is enough electricity to power 6 million homes.
Wind power will always need to be part of a mix of energy sources as wind capacity fluctuates depending on the weather.
Solar – The UK currently has 15 GW of solar capacity and the UK government has plans to double this (Solar Energy UK). There has been rapid growth in this industry. In the first six months of 2022 an extra 556 megawatts has been added to UK capacity.
The Climate Change Committee analysis projects that the UK needs at least 40 GW to meet its net zero targets by 2050. This would mean adding around 1 gigawatt of capacity each year.
Nuclear – Nuclear capacity in the UK is 6.5 GW falling from a peak of 12.7 GW in 1995 (World Nuclear). The UK government has plans to increase this to 24 GW by 2050 so it can supply 25% of electricity requirements.
A new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point C is due to come online by 2025 and will generate 3.2 GW. Two further plants are planned: Sizewell C and Bradwell B and two are on hold at Wylfa and Moorside (UK GOV – PDF).
How can you help the UK build more clean energy sources?
Buy your electricity from a company that provides clean energy like Octopus Energy and get free advice on renewables and home improvements from the Energy Saving Trust.
Invest in renewable technology for your home with experts like Elite Renewables, Shuttleworth Projects, Borisa Ristic & Co, Enbee Architecture or the Green Building Store.
Support renewable energy schemes by funding them through Thrive Renewables, Ethex, EQ Investors, the Green Angel Syndicate or Triodos Bank. Investment, whether in new or existing businesses, carries risk. Always seek independent financial advice.
Network with these and other sustainable businesses by joining the Blue Patch community today.