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Renewable energy output rises by 39%

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has reported that UK renewable electricity output increased by 39 per cent in Q1 of this year.

The increase brings the overall UK contribution of renewable energy to 11.1 per cent.

Low-carbon generation made up 28.4 per cent of UK electricity generation in Q1 as compared to 26.6 per cent in the year-ago period, according to DECC, while total electricity output dropped 3.4 per cent.

End-user electrical power consumption fell 2.3 per cent, with domestic use expanding 2 per cent, service sector consumption up 3.1 per cent, and industrial use down 8.6 per cent.

Onshore wind was the fastest growing source of electrical power for the UK overall in Q1, jumping 51 per cent to 3.55 Terawatt-hours (TWh), while offshore wind total rated capacity increased 49.8 per cent to 1.49 TWh.

Hydro power production also registered impressive gains, rising 43.5 per cent to 1.86 TWh.

The latest figures also show that gas accounted for 27 per cent of electricity generated in the first quarter of 2012, its lowest level in the past 14 years. High gas prices were blamed. Coal accounted for 42 per cent, up by a fifth, while nuclear fell from 19 to 17 per cent.

Onshore and offshore wind generation was up by around 50 per cent year-on-year.

Hydroelectricity output was 43 per cent higher between January and March 2012 than a year earlier, and thermal renewables rose by 20 per cent.

Solar, wave and tidal grew by more than 800 per cent, but remain the smallest renewables sector with most technologies still in their infancy.