The amount of electricity generated by low-carbon sources in the UK stalled in 2019, Carbon Brief analysis shows. Low-carbon electricity output from wind, solar, nuclear, hydro and biomass rose by just 1 terawatt hour (TWh, less than 1%) in 2019. It represents the smallest annual increase in a decade, where annual growth averaged 9TWh. This growth will need to double in the 2020s to meet UK climate targets while replacing old nuclear plants as they retire. Some 54% of UK electricity generation in 2019 came from low-carbon sources, including 37% from renewables and 20% from wind alone. A record-low 43% was from fossil fuels, with 41% from gas and just 2% from coal, also a record low. In 2010, fossil fuels generated 75% of the total. Given scheduled nuclear retirements and rising demand expected by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) – with some electrification of transport and heating – low-carbon generation would need to increase by 15TWh each year until 2030, just to meet the benchmark of 100gCO2/kWh. For context, the 3.2 gigawatt (GW) Hinkley C new nuclear plant being built in Somerset will generate around 25TWh once completed around 2026. The world’s largest offshore windfarm, the 1.2GW Hornsea One scheme off the Yorkshire coast, will generate around 5TWh each year. The new Conservative government is targeting 40GW of offshore wind by 2030, up from today’s figure of around 8GW. If policies are put in place to meet this goal, then it could keep power sector emissions below 100gCO2/kWh, depending on the actual performance of the windfarms built.
Carbon Brief 7th Jan 2020 read more »
Energy Voice 7th Jan 2020 read more »
ITV 7th Jan 2020 read more »
Energy produced by the UK’s renewable sector outpaced fossil fuel plants on a record 137 days in 2019 to help the country’s energy system record its greenest year. The report by the Carbon Brief website found that renewable energy – from wind, solar, hydro and biomass projects – grew by 9% last year and was the UK’s largest electricity source in March, August, September and December. The rise of renewables helped drive generation from coal and gas plants down by 6% from the year before, and 50% lower from the start of the decade. Meanwhile, the number of coal-free days has accelerated from the first 24-hour period in 2017 to 21 days in 2018 and 83 days last year.
Guardian 7th Jan 2020 read more »
In 2010, Great Britain generated 75% of its electricity from coal and natural gas. But by the end of the decade*, these fossil fuels accounted for just 40%, with coal generation collapsing from the decade’s peak of 41% in 2012 to under 2% in 2019. The near disappearance of coal power – the second most prevalent source in 2010 – underpinned a remarkable transformation of Britain’s electricity generation over the last decade, meaning Britain now has the cleanest electrical supply it has ever had. Second place now belongs to wind power, which supplied almost 21% of the country’s electrical demand in 2019, up from 3% at the start of the decade. As at the start of the decade, natural gas provided the largest share of Britain’s electricity in 2019 at 38%, compared with 47% in 2010.
The Conversation 6th Jan 2020 read more »
The UK has made significant efforts to decarbonise its electricity generation, but figures show the planned closure of aging nuclear plants could offset the impact of other renewable energy sources. The UK must go “much further and faster” in decarbonising its electricity generation if net-zero commitments are to be achieved, says industry organisation Energy UK. The warning comes in response to new figures from research group Carbon Brief, which shows that despite significant progress in shifting the UK energy mix to include more renewables, low-carbon power generated in the country during 2019 grew by just 0.6% on the previous year. That is after a two-fold increase during the previous decade – a rise of 88 terawatt hours (TWh) – and is indicative of the UK’s reliance on nuclear power as a key source of renewable electricity. Outages at the Hunterston and Dungeness nuclear plants throughout the year offset the impact of increases in other renewables – and the approaching retirement of ageing nuclear reactors within the UK fleet raises concerns about the ability to meet future demand.
NS Energy 7th Jan 2020 read more »