According to new data, the United Kingdom generated a record amount of renewable electricity in 2022, but the rising cost of fossil fuels, particularly gas, caused wholesale power prices to almost double year-on-year. Renewable sources, including wind, solar, biomass and hydro, generated 40% of the country’s electricity, up from 35% in 2021, and helped to reduce carbon emissions by 2.7 million tonnes. The UK also exported more power to Europe than ever before, making it a net exporter of electricity for the first time in over a decade.
However, the cost of gas reached a new all-time high following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, resulting in a 42% share of the country’s fuel mix, the largest since 2016. As a result, the UK is on track to have an annual average wholesale price above £200 per MWh for the first time ever in 2022, up from £113 the previous year. This is nearly six times higher than the cost of electricity in 2020 (£34 per MWh).
Dr Iain Staffell of Imperial College London commented on the data, saying: “The lesson from 2022 is that we need to break our addiction to fossil fuels once and for all if we want lower cost and more secure energy supplies. If we had not invested in wind, solar and biomass over the last decade our energy bills would have been even higher, as would the risk of blackouts over winter.“
The data was analyzed by academics from Imperial College London for Drax Electric Insights, commissioned via Imperial Consultants.