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Electricity generation in the UK - Statistics & Facts

Since the start of the 21st Century, global electricity generation has nearly doubled. In contrast, keeping up with its declining demand, electricity generation in the UK decreased by more than 17 percent in the same period, dipping below 312 terawatt-hours in 2020. In addition to the change in annual electricity output, the UK’s power mix has also changed drastically in the past two decades, welcoming a new age of focus on renewables.

The end of conventional electricity’s golden age

Although coal is still the world’s leading source of electricity, it accounted for less than two percent of electricity generation in the UK in 2020. This fossil fuel is expected to be completely phased out as a power source in the country by 2025. Similarly, gas-fired power– which came to account for more than 40 percent of the UK’s annual power output – is likely to have already passed its peak. Forecasts see electricity production from natural gas dropping from roughly 100 terawatt-hours in 2020 to less than 35 terawatt-hours by 2040.

Meanwhile, the future of nuclear power generation in the UK remains uncertain, as many reactors reach the end of their operational lifetime, and new developments stall. As of May 2021, there were seven operational nuclear power stations in the UK, and aside from expansion plans, only one new plant was in construction at the time. In turn, nuclear power generation in the country reached a decade-low of some 50 terawatt-hours in 2020. With most of the remaining reactors set to be retired in the next decade, nuclear power output is unlikely to pick up again.

The decade of renewables

The past decade saw a boom in renewable deployment in the UK. In 2020, renewables surpassed natural gas for the first time to become the leading source of electricity generation in the UK. And the new age of renewables is just beginning. The UK’s renewable capacity is expected to more than double by 2040, surpassing 130 gigawatts. In 2020, wind was the leading source of renewable electricity in the country, with onshore and offshore output combined surpassing 75 terawatt-hours.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 24 most important statistics relating to "Electricity generation in the UK".

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