Q3 2022: Capacity and production statistics

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Dr Iain Staffell, Professor Richard Green, Professor Tim Green and Dr Malte Jansen – Imperial College London 

Britain’s most productive nuclear reactor, Hinkley Point B, retired in August.  It operated for 46 years, generating 311 TWh over its lifetime (enough to power the whole of Britain for a year).  This closure cuts the country’s nuclear generation capacity by 10% to just 7.4 GW, as now only five reactors remain. Two of these are scheduled to cease operating in 2024.

Wind, solar and biomass all increased their generation over the last year, together producing 20% more electricity during Q3 than the same quarter last year.  Despite this, gas-fired power generation was also up by 20%, and coal generation remained the same.  Gas continued to supply more than twice as much electricity as any other source In Q3.

Britain’s electricity supply mix in the third quarter of 2022

Demand for electricity was slightly lower than in previous years, mirroring the long-term downwards trend, but the shift from imports to exports meant an additional 10 TWh of electricity was generated in Britain over the quarter.  As a result, output from British power stations rose to its highest since 2014.

Installed capacity and electricity produced by each technology 2 3

[2] Other sources give different values because of the types of plant they consider.  For example, BEIS Energy Trends records an additional 0.7 GW of hydro, 0.6 GW of biomass and 3 GW of waste-to-energy plants.  These plants and their output are not visible to the electricity transmission system and so cannot be reported on here.

[3] We include an estimate of the installed capacity of smaller storage devices which are not monitored by the electricity market operator.  Britain’s storage capacity is made up of 2.9 GW of pumped hydro storage, 0.6 GW of lithium-ion batteries, 0.4 GW of flywheels and 0.3 GW of compressed air.

Live Grid Data