How Much Renewable Energy Does The UK Use? (2023)
We all know that using renewable energy sources is one of the best ways of combating climate change and rapidly reducing our collective carbon emissions.
But how much renewable energy does the UK produce in 2023?
There is data to show that currently, renewable energy makes up 36.7% of all energy that comes from the National Grid. These methods include the likes of solar, hydropower, and wind.
Fossil fuels make up 27.6%, while 21.4% come from other sources, like nuclear and biomass.
The rest of the grid comes from interconnections to countries like France, Belgium and Norway (13.6%), in addition to 0.8% of pumped storage.
However, there is some data from Ember suggesting that nearly 40% of the UK’s electricity is generated from gas. This lack of clarity suggests that there is still much more work to do, especially if the UK is striving to be up to par with some of the world’s green leaders.
Why is renewable energy important?
Renewable energy is critical to tackling global warming and reducing the impacts of climate change.
It helps lessen our dependence on finite fossil fuels, which can become scarce or expensive over time, all while releasing fewer pollutants into the atmosphere.
Additionally, renewable energy sources are largely free from CO2 emissions and other harmful gases, making them better for both the environment and human health.
Using renewable energy sources also helps reduce our reliance on nonrenewable sources, such as coal, oil and gas, which produce the majority of global emissions.
Investing in renewable energy technologies is an important step towards a greener future for humanity.
There are also some key financial benefits to using renewable energy, especially in your home. By generating your own renewable energy, you can save a great deal of money on your electricity bills and could even become energy independent.
With all these benefits, it’s easy to see why so many countries are now transitioning to renewables as a major source of energy.
What renewables are used to generate electricity?
There are multiple avenues that can create renewable energy, utilising the power of the earth to generate clean, green electricity. These include:
- Solar energy is harnessed by photovoltaic panels converting sunlight into electricity.
- Hydropower uses moving water to spin turbines that generate electricity.
- Wind is captured in wind turbines which spin a generator to create electricity. Geothermal energy utilises the heat of the earth’s core to drive steam turbines.
- Wave power captures energy from ocean waves by utilising devices that convert wave action into electricity.
- Additionally, biomass and biofuels are other renewable sources used to generate electricity.
All these renewables can be used to create clean, renewable energy for homes and businesses across the world.
With so many options available, it’s no surprise that more people are turning to renewable energy sources as a viable alternative to the ever-present fossil fuels.
By investing in renewable energy, we can all help make our planet greener and cleaner for future generations. Now, this begs the question:
How does the UK’s renewable output compare to the rest of the world?
If we’re looking at the bigger picture, there’s not much better place to look at than at the top.
Iceland is the world leader when it comes to renewable energy, with data from Ember in 2022 recording that the country runs entirely on renewable energy!
Second and third place easily go to Norway and Costa Rica, which run on 99% and 98% renewable energy respectively. Impressive!
Using the same data, let’s take a look at some of the counties sitting at the top of the GDP.
Let’s start it off with the USA where gas (39.32%) is the primary source of electricity, closely followed by coal (19.29%). Nuclear is the third most popular source, making up 17.96% of electricity.
On the other hand, only 10.12% of electricity in the United States is generated from wind, 5.96% from hydro and 4.75% is made from solar. When other renewables such as bioenergy are considered, that’s just 22.52% of all electricity in the USA.
Meanwhile in China, a whopping 61.33% of all electricity is generated from coal, while only 30.68% is generated from a combination of renewable sources.
Much like the countries above it in GDP, Japan relies mainly on gas (34.17%) and coal (32.93%) for its energy. Japan’s renewable output of 23.33% is only just bigger than that of the United State’s, with wind being by far their lowest energy export (0.95%).
Standing out from the crowd is Germany, where 56.45% of all electricity generated is from renewable sources, including 21.66% just from wind alone.
However, 31.08% of energy is still created from coal, showcasing that there is still much more room for improvement.
As mentioned earlier, this data showcases that the 39.26% of energy created in the UK is from gas. However, 41.45% of energy created is from renewable sources, with wind leading the frontline by generating 24.62% of all UK energy. Just 10 years ago this figure was at 5.5%!
Could there be a day when only renewable energy is used in the UK?
While it may seem like lightyears away, there could be a day where the UK is entirely powered by renewable energy. Just look at the likes of Iceland, Norway and Costa Rica!
As mentioned, over 40% of the UK’s electricity comes from renewable sources like solar, wind, hydro and bioenergy, suggesting that progress is being made.
If the government continues to invest in renewable energy, and subsidies remain available, there is a chance that one day the UK could use 100% renewable energy.
However, this would require more investment in newer technologies like wave power and geothermal energy, as well as modernising existing infrastructure to accommodate these sources of clean electricity.
Achieving such a bold goal would undoubtedly be a huge challenge, but with the right investment and policy decisions, there could one day be a reality where this is a reality in the UK.
Improve your home’s energy efficiency for less
Having a property with low energy efficiency can do some serious damage to your bank, as well as the planet.
Fortunately, any UK home with an Energy Performance Certificate of D or below could be eligible for government funding towards home upgrades through the ECO4 and Great British Insulation Schemes.
With these schemes, you can get things like loft and cavity wall insulation, replacement boilers or even solar panels at a seriously discounted price (and sometimes even for free, depending on your living situation).
Upgrading to these energy efficient measures are great ways to reduce your energy costs and carbon emissions.
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