At around 1 p.m. on Monday, carbon intensity had dropped to 39 grams per unit due to a combination of factors including sunny weather, strong winds, and low power demand caused by workplace closures over the Easter Bank Holiday. The number is the lowest ever reported by the National Grid.
The new high is the product of the UK’s overall energy policies, the falling cost of offshore wind and other renewables, and the country’s attempts to move away from polluting fossil fuels like coal.
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.”On Monday, wind power accounted for 39 percent of the country’s energy mix, with solar accounting for 21% and nuclear accounting for 16%.
National Grid ESO said there was no coal production on the grid and that gas plants provided 10% of the electricity.
On May 24, 2020, the previous record for low emissions from each unit of electricity generation’s carbon intensity was set, with 46 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour.For the first time in the UK, renewable energy production surpassed fossil fuel generation in 2020; demand was drastically reduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing the grid to minimize natural gas input.In 2020, coal will account for just 1.6 percent of total electricity generation, down from nearly 25% five years ago.
The government announced in 2015 that coal-fired power plants would be phased out completely by 2025, with Scotland leading the way by closing its last coal plant, Longannet power station, only a few months later.
Source: Power Technology