Clean energy outperforms fossil fuels

6th January 2020 | Commercial Energy

The past year was the cleanest on record for the British grid as zero carbon technology exceeded electricity supplies from polluting fuels. Britain has reached an historic clean energy milestone with zero carbon electricity outstripping fossil fuels in 2019 for the first time, National Grid has said. The past year was the cleanest on record for the British grid as zero carbon technology such as wind, solar and nuclear exceeded electricity supplies from polluting fuels such as coal and gas over the past 12 months.

Data released by National Grid shows wind farms, hydro plants, solar and nuclear energy, alongside clean power imported by subsea cables known as interconnectors, delivered 48.5 percent of Britain’s electricity in 2019. That compares to 43 percent generated by fossil fuels.

Clean energy

The remaining 8.5 percent was generated by biomass, which is renewable but produces carbon emissions when the wood pellets used to make the power are burned, and waste. The milestone comes as the UK reaches the halfway point to its legally-binding target of achieving “net zero” greenhouse gases – effectively cutting the country’s emissions by 100% on 1990 levels – by 2050. It is a dramatic change from 1990 when coal made up three-quarters of the power supply in Britain and wind, solar and hydro accounted for just 2.3 percent.

These zero carbon renewables made up 26.5 percent of the power mix in 2019 while coal accounted for just 2.1 percent, the figures from the company show. Gas has also risen from almost nothing to making up 38.4 percent of the mix by 2019.

National Grid chief executive John Pettigrew said, “As we enter a new decade, this truly is a historic moment and an opportunity to reflect on how much has been achieved. At National Grid, we know we have a critical role in the acceleration towards a cleaner future and are committed to playing our part in delivering a safe and secure energy system that works for all.”

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