Wales now generates over 43 percent of its electricity consumption from renewables, contributed to by over 67,000 renewable energy projects. While the UK and England are without a renewable energy or renewable electricity target after 2020, Wales is making strides towards its 2030 target of 70 percent of its electricity consumption being generated by renewables.
This is one of the headline findings of the ‘Energy Generation In Wales’ Report that the Welsh Government have published today. Produced by Regen, the aim of the report is to support the Welsh Government with the development of energy policy, helping to evidence the economic, community and environmental benefits from the development of Welsh energy projects.
Here are some of the report’s findings.
Electricity in Wales
Wales is part of an interconnected European electricity network, with flows into and out of the country. The country generated an estimated 38.8 TWh of electricity in 2016 and consumed approximately 16.1 TWh*. Wales is, therefore, a net exporter of electricity.
Of the estimated 38.8 TWh of electricity that was generated in Wales in 2016, 6.9 TWh was from renewables. Electricity generation from renewables has increased rapidly in recent years, having doubled in the last five years.
The remaining 31.9 TWh of generation was from fossil fuels. Six Combined Cycle Gas Turbines plants and one coal power station provide 95 per cent of fossil fuel electricity generation.
Renewables in Wales
In 2017, the Welsh Government announced a target of meeting 70 per cent of electricity demand from Welsh renewable sources by 2030. Wales has made good progress towards meeting this target, with an estimated 43 per cent* of electricity consumption in Wales met by renewable generation in 2016. However, significant network, market and policy challenges remain in closing the gap to the 70 per cent target.
Wales also produces approximately 1.8 TWh of useable renewable heat, equivalent to 6 per cent of current gas consumption. Much of this is generated from projects using biomass as fuel.
Renewable energy highlights
- Wales hosts the largest onshore wind farm in England and Wales, the 228 MW Pen y Cymoedd wind farm.
- Wales is also home to the UK’s largest solar PV project, Shotwick Park, at 72.2 MW.
- Anaerobic digestion deployment has jumped from 15 to 53 projects in the last two years.
- There was 504 MW of renewable heat capacity in 2016.
- Biomass made up 67 per cent of 2016 renewable heat capacity.
Locally owned renewable energy
In 2017, the Welsh Government announced a target for 1 GW of renewable electricity generation capacity to be locally owned by 2030 and for all renewable energy projects to have an element of local ownership by 2020.
By December 2016, 575 MW of locally owned renewable energy capacity had been installed across Wales, made up of 397 MW of electricity and 177 MW of heat. This is a 40 per cent increase since 2014.Domestic installations saw the most significant capacity growth, with a 74 MW increase on 2014 totals.
The study builds on two previous energy surveys for Wales, also undertaken by Regen, that were published in 2014 and 2015. The study will be carried out again in future years, so that progress towards the targets can be tracked.
* 2016 BEIS sub-national consumption data is not yet available. It is assumed there is no change from the 2015 data.