UK renewables generation soars as solar, storage pipelines grow rapidly

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Image: Lightsource BP.

Generation from renewables in the UK soared in the first quarter of 2020, official statistics show, as the country’s shovel-ready renewables pipeline continued to grow rapidly.

Official stats from the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), published late last week, show that in the first three months of the year output from renewables sources reached 40.8TWh – a leap of nearly 30% on the 31.5TWh renewables generated in Q1 2019.

Offshore wind was a significant driver in producing that figure. Generation from offshore wind sources grew by nearly 20% year-on-year, while the UK’s solar fleet actually produced less energy in Q1 2020 than it did in the first three months of 2019 owing to fewer sunlight hours, BEIS said.

More analysis on the UK’s Q1 2020 renewables figures can be read on PV Tech sister publication, Current±.

BEIS’ stats were released after UK trade body Regen published analysis of the UK’s renewables and energy storage project pipeline, which it said had grown to a “huge” 61GW following a rush of new projects entering planning.

Of that 61GW, around half are offshore wind, indicating the size of offshore wind farms now entering the planning process. Around 8.6GW of utility-scale solar projects are currently at various stages of planning, Regen said, with around the same amount (8.5GW) of energy storage also at the planning phase.

Just less than one-third (18GW) of renewables and storage projects are considered ‘shovel ready’, Regen said.

PV Tech publisher Solar Media’s in-house market research team places the UK’s utility-scale solar pipeline slightly higher, at 9GW, with head of market research Finlay Colville indicating there to have been a particular rush of projects entering the planning stage in recent months. More than 600MW of new planning applications for solar farms were submitted in the UK last month alone.

Solar Media’s in-house market research team charts both the UK’s active utility-scale solar pipeline and its built assets, providing detailed analysis of both. More information regarding those reports, and others in the Solar Media Market Research portfolio, can be found here.

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