What is UK electricity generation by energy source?

Capacity for electricity generation in the UK increased gradually

energy source
Installed capacity for electricity generation in the UK increased gradually between 1996 and 2018, from 73.6 GW to 101.2 GW. In 2019 and 2020, total capacity fell following the closure of several large coal-fired plants, and the mix of plants shifted towards renewable different technologies. Overall, there has been a decline in conventional steam, outweighed initially by an increase in combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT) and more recently by an increase in renewables. CCGT capacity increased almost threefold over the period 1996-2012, from 12.7 GW to 35.5 GW. This figure fell over the following years before increasing again in 2016 - 2018 to 33.6 GW. In 2020, CCGT capacity was similar to the 2019 figure at 31.8 GW. Conventional steam capacity decreased between 2019 and 2020 to 10.8 GW. Nuclear capacity in 2020 was 8.1 GW. The decreased capacity compared to 2019 reflects the decision not to restart generation at Dungeness B after a prolonged outage. Renewables capacity has seen a significant increase, with an installed capacity in 2020 of 47.8 GW. This is more than 20 times the capacity in 1996. Most of the renewable technologies saw an increase in capacity between 2019 and 2020, with a particularly large increase in capacity for offshore wind (up 5 per cent).
At the end of 2020 6,805 MW of capacity (around 1,045,000 installations) was installed, around 1.9% more confirmed capacity (and 3.5% more installations) than at the end of 2019. This is a figure that is liable to revision. Nearly all of the installations and new capacity was Solar PV. Micro generation capacity increased rapidly between 2010 and 2016 but the rate of increase has slowed since then. These figures are based on MCS data. Registering with MCS was a pre-requisite for the Feed in Tariff (FiT) scheme. The FiT scheme was introduced on 1st April 2010 and is a financial support scheme for eligible low-carbon electricity technologies, aimed at small scale installations up to a maximum capacity of 5 Megawatts (MW). The FiT scheme closed to new entrants at the end of March 2019. However, not all MCS Installations are accredited on FiTs, including all new installations since April 2019. At the end of March 2019, 88% of the MCS installations were accredited on the CFR, accounting for 96% of capacity (6,340 MW out of 6,604 MW). These figures do not currently include unsubsidized installations below 1MW capacity that are not registered on the MCS. We are reviewing data sources to improve coverage.
Electricity generated from renewable sources increased by 13% between 2019 and 2020 to a record 134.6 TWh. The large increase is mostly due to favourable weather conditions, as installed capacity grew only marginally. Total wind generation increased by 18% to a record 75.4 TWh thanks to exceptionally strong wind speeds; within this, offshore wind generation rose by over 27% to 40.7 TWh, surpassing onshore wind at 34.7 TWh. Wind generation was particularly high during Quarter 1 of 2020, when storms Clara and Dennis hit the UK. Average onshore wind speeds in 2020, at 9.1 knots, were 0.8 knots higher than in 2019. Hydro generation increased by 15% in 2020, largely due to an increase in average rainfall, which was up by 23% on 2019. Generation from solar PV increased by 4.6%, following a small increase in capacity and average sun hours (up 0.2 hours in 2020). Generation from bioenergy and waste (excluding landfill gas) increased by 6.3%. Renewable electricity accounted for a record 43.1% of electricity generated in the UK during 2020, more than 6 percentage points higher than in 2019. The map on page 34 shows installed wind capacity for onshore and offshore sites across the UK.
In 2020 CHP electrical capacity increased by 0.8% compared to 2019 with less than 300 new schemes (3%). Electricity generation in 2020 was 1.4% higher than in 2019, while heat generation increased by 0.7%. Schemes larger than 10 MWe represent 69% of the total electrical capacity of CHP schemes whereas schemes less than 1MWe constitute the majority (79%) of the number of schemes. In 2020 CHP schemes accounted for 7.7% of the total electricity generated in the UK and 8.1% of UK gas demand.
Energy consumption per unit of output, known as energy intensity, gives a broad indication of how efficiently energy is being used over time. Changes in energy intensity occur for several reasons: process change, technological change and structural change (in the case of industry and the service sector) as well as efficiency change. The largest falls in energy intensity over the last thirty years or so have occurred in the industrial sector mainly due to structural change in the period before 2000, and in the service sector due to general energy efficiency improvements. In the domestic sector there has been a general downward trend in domestic consumption since 2005, due to improvements in energy efficiency measures. The falls in the road passenger and freight categories in 2020 are a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cost effective methods of improving energy efficiency in homes are to install cavity wall and loft insulation where these measures are practical. Building Regulations require new homes to reach thermal efficiency standards which would typically be met by installing these measures. In addition, existing homes have had these measures retrofitted through Government schemes or through a DIY loft insulation. These data show the change in the number of insulated homes as a result of new build and retro fitting insulation. The number of homes with cavity wall insulation has increased by 9% between the end of December 2015 and December 2020 such that 14.6 million, of the 20.8 million homes with cavities, are insulated. The number of homes with loft insulation, of a depth of at least 125mm, has increased by 6% between the end of December 2015 and December 2020 meaning that 16.9 million of the 25.4 million homes with lofts are insulated to this level.

  • Fuel poverty in England is now measured using the Low Income Low Energy Efficiency (LILEE) indicator which replaced the Low Income High Costs (LIHC) indicator. Under LILEE, a household is considered to be fuel poor if: they are living in a property with a fuel poverty energy efficiency rating of band D or below; and where they to spend the required amount to heat their home, they would be left with a residual income below the official poverty line. • The proportion of households in England in fuel poverty was estimated to have decreased by 1.6 percentage points from 2018 to 13.4 % in 2019 (approximately 3.18 million households). • In 2019, the average fuel poverty gap (the reduction in fuel bill that the average fuel poor household needs in order to not be classed as fuel poor) in England was estimated at £216, down slightly from £225 in 2018 in real terms following a steady downward trend since 2014. • The lower number of households in fuel poverty also caused the aggregate fuel poverty gap for England to continue to decrease in 2019 (by 15.1 % in real terms) to £687 million. Key drivers of fuel poverty, 2018-2019 • Energy efficiency – improvement in energy efficiency between 2018 and 2019 has brought more low income households to band C which removes them fuel poverty. • Incomes – incomes increased at the median rate of increase for households near the low income threshold so the share of households in relative poverty remained similar.

  • Industrial prices, in real terms, steadily fell from the mid-1980s until 1996 where they were at their lowest. Industrial prices then rose again reaching a peak in 2013 before falling. Since the recent low in 2016, industrial prices had generally been on the rise. However, in 2020 coal, gas and heavy fuel oil prices fell. Compared to the previous year, in 2020 industrial electricity prices, in real terms, were up by 0.4% and were the highest on record while gas prices were down by 13%. Coal prices paid for by industry were down by 8.1%. Industrial heavy fuel oil is used less than other fuels affected by bulk buying and stockpiling and prices in real terms were down by 19%. Over the last five years industrial gas prices, in real terms, have decreased by 21% while electricity prices have increased by 12%.

  • Compared to 2019, total domestic energy prices in 200 decreased in real terms by 10%. Over the same time period, liquid fuels decreased by 34%, gas prices decreased by 15%, electricity prices decreased by 5.1% and solid fuels decreased 1.3%. Comparing prices in 2020 with prices 10 years prior, real prices for domestic fuels overall increased by 10%. The real price of electricity increased by 28% and solid fuels increased by 2.6%. However, the real price for gas decreased by 8.1% and liquid fuel prices decreased by 38%.

  • In cash terms the price of Ultra Low Sulphur Petrol (ULSP) cost 11 pence per litre less and diesel cost 12 pence per litre less in 2020 than in 2019. In real terms the price of petrol and diesel were both 14% lower in 2020 compared to 2019. In 2020 taxes and duty accounted for 68% of the retail price of unleaded and 65% of the price of diesel.

  • Households in the United Kingdom spent, on average, 4.2% of their total expenditure on fuel for their homes in 2019/20, the same amount as 2018/19. Households whose income falls in the lowest 10% in the United Kingdom spend, on average, 7.7% of their weekly spend on fuel for their homes. The top 10% of households in terms of income, spend only 2.7% per week of their weekly spend on domestic fuel.


The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) also produces the following energy and climate change statistics publications: The Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics is the annual energy statistics publication of BEIS. With extensive tables, charts and commentary covering all the major aspects of energy, it provides a detailed and comprehensive picture of the last three years and a detailed picture for the last five years. It includes detailed information on the production and consumption of individual fuels and of energy as a whole. The 2021 edition, published on 29 July 2021, is available at:

Digest of UK energy statistics dukes

The Energy Flow Chart is an annual publication illustrating the flow of primary fuels from home production and imports to their eventual final uses. They are shown in their original state and after being converted into different kinds of energy by the secondary fuel producers. The 2021 edition of the chart, published on 29 July 2021, shows the flows for 2020 and is available at:

Energy flow charts

Energy Trends is a quarterly publication of statistics on energy in the United Kingdom. It includes tables, charts and commentary covering all major aspects of energy. It provides a comprehensive picture of energy production and use, to allow readers to monitor trends during the year.

Energy trends

Monthly updates to tables in Energy Trends split by fuel source are also available. Energy Consumption in the United Kingdom brings together statistics from a variety of sources to produce a comprehensive review of energy consumption and changes in intensity and output since the 1970s, with a particular focus on trends since 2000. The information is presented in five key themes covering overall energy consumption, energy intensity by sector, primary energy consumption, end uses and electrical products consumption and stock.

Energy consumption in UK

UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions statistics are produced by BEIS to show progress against the UK’s goals, both international and domestic, for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

UK greenhouse gas emissions statistics

Household Energy Efficiency statistics are published by BEIS on the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and Green Deal (GD). The headline release presents monthly updates of ECO measures and quarterly updates of in-depth ECO statistics, carbon savings and the Green Deal schemes. The detailed report presents annual updates on in-depth Green Deal statistics and insulation levels.

Household energy efficiency statistics

Smart Meters statistics are produced by BEIS on the roll-out of smart meters in Great Britain, and covers both operating and installed meters.

Smart meter statistics

People also ask

What is the UK's main source of electricity?

Natural gas- Currently, natural gas accounts for the vast bulk of power entering the national system from a single energy source. When natural gas is burnt to create power, it emits damaging GHGs such as carbon dioxide (CO2).

How much of the power in the UK is renewable?

Renewables' share of energy generation was 38.6 percent in Quarter 2 2022, up from 37.3 percent in the same quarter previous year but lower than the percentage of fossil fuels (41.9 per cent).

Is the United Kingdom self-sufficient in terms of electricity?

Despite being traditionally self-sufficient in meeting local energy needs, the United Kingdom's reliance on imports has grown in recent decades.

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