LowCarbonPower logo

Electricity in United Kingdom in 2022

Global Ranking: #31
56.3% #55 Low-carbon electricity
551.24 watts #69 Generation / person
255.96 gCO2eq/kWh #50 Carbon Intensity
Net exporter Electricity imports

As of 2022, just over half of the UK's electricity comes from low-carbon sources, with fossil fuels making up the rest of the mix. Notably, gas is the leading fossil energy source, accounting for nearly 40% of total electricity generation. In terms of low-carbon energy, wind and nuclear are the most significant contributors, delivering 25% and 15% of overall electricity respectively. Biofuels and solar add a further share, whilst hydropower and coal make up a small part of the energy mix. Additionally, the UK is a net exporter of electricity, sending out more energy than it imports.


There are evident ways the UK can increase its production of low-carbon electricity. Markedly, the country could benefit from expanding the capacities of its nuclear and wind energy systems, which are its primary sources of clean power. Notably, countries like France and Ukraine have scaled up their low-carbon electricity generation, thanks to the successful deployment of nuclear energy, which accounts for 61% and 58% of their national electricity generation respectively. In the area of wind energy, Denmark sets a great example, generating more than half of its electricity from wind turbines. These cases demonstrate that expanding low-carbon energy sources can lead to a higher proportion of clean electricity generation.


The history of low-carbon electricity in the UK shows variable trends. Growth in nuclear power was a key feature in the 1980s, with nuclear capacity additions resulting in increases in electricity output year on year. However, the following decades witnessed significant declines in nuclear generation, sparking critiques regarding the consistency of nuclear as a primary electricity source. The early 2000s, in particular, saw noticeable decreases in nuclear generation. On a brighter note, the 2010s marked a recovery, with increases in both wind and nuclear contributions, although nuclear faced another dip towards the end of the decade, once again raising concerns about its reliability. Wind energy, whilst observing some variations, exhibited a generally growing trend, peaking in 2022 with an increase of 15 TWh compared to the previous year.

Data Sources

For the years 1980 to 1983 the data sources are EIA and IEA (imports/exports).
For the year 1984 the data sources are World Bank and IEA (imports/exports).
For the years 1985 to 1989 the data sources are Energy Institute and IEA (imports/exports).
For the years 1990 to 2019 the data source is IEA.
For the years 2020 to 2022 the data source is Ember.