The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) last week released statistics showing coal’s share of generation was at its highest level since 1996, with gas’s share at its lowest since 1996.
Cheaper coal, more expensive gas and plummeting carbon prices have resulted in a fundamental shift in the UK merit order, with coal accounting for 42.8% of electricity supplied in 2012, surging from around 30% in 2011.
Gas's share fell to 27.6%, down from around 40% a year earlier.
The country’s annual energy production fell by 10.7% on a year earlier to 122.4 million tonnes of oil equivalent, the DECC citing “sharp falls in output from the UK continental shelf as a result of longer term decline, maintenance activity and slowdowns”
In other energy sources, nuclear energy grew 2.1% in 2012, wind was up 33%, bioenergy gained 46% and hydro-generation fell 9%.