Greenest day ever for UK's electricity grid recorded on Easter Monday

The UK's electricity grid was the greenest it's ever been on Easter Monday thanks to a combination of sunny spells, blustery conditions and low energy demand over the holiday weekend.

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Data from the National Grid ESO shows that wind power supplied 39% of the country's electricity at 1pm, with solar providing 21%, and nuclear 16%, meaning that renewables accounted for almost 80%.

The carbon intensity of the UK's electricity – which is the measure of CO2 emissions per unit of electricity consumed – dropped to 39gCO2/kWh, beating the previous record of 46gCO2/kWh set in May last year.

This comes after the country recorded its highest ever level of wind power generation on 13 February 2021, while wind accounted for 59.9% of the electricity mix on 26 August 2020, which was its largest share ever.

National Grid ESO director, Fintan Slye, said: “This latest record is another example of how the grid continues to transform at an astonishing rate as we move away from fossil fuel generation and harness the growth of renewable power sources.

“It’s an exciting time and the progress we’re seeing with these records underlines the significant strides we’re taking towards our ambition of being able to operate the system carbon-free by 2025.”

The latest figures also show that, during spring 2020, Britain saw its longest run since the industrial revolution generating electricity without using coal, stretching for almost 68 days between April 10 and June 16.

In total, the country was powered coal-free for over 5,147 hours in 2020, compared with 3,666 hours in 2019, 1,856 in 2018 and 624 in 2017. 

Coal generated only 1.6% of the electricity mix in 2020, compared with almost 25% five years ago.

The UK also recorded its first ever coal-free Christmas day last year, with zero-carbon sources powering over half of the country's electricity demands.

“With COP26 later this year records like this couldn’t come at a better time, showing that progress towards greener grids is possible,” Slye continued. “We look forward to sharing our learnings at COP26 and continuing to help system operators across the world exploit the potential of renewable power.”

 

Image credit: iStock

Author: 

Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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