UK to use more electricity from renewables than coal for first time in 2019
21st June 2019 | Commercial Energy
2019 will be the year that the UK’s electricity system distributes more power generated from zero-carbon sources than from coal-fired power stations for the first time, new data from National Grid has concluded. The data reveals that clean energy sources – wind, solar, nuclear and hydropower – generated 47.9% of Britain’s electricity between January and May, compared to 46.7% for coal and gas-fired sources.
National Grid predicts that this trend will continue until the end of 2019 and that the latter half of the year is likely to see renewables take an even bigger share of the electricity mix, partly due to new North Sea Link’s upcoming connection to Norway’s hydropower network. Moreover, next year will see one of the UK’s six remaining coal power stations, SSE’s Fiddlers Ferry in Cheshire, decommissioned.
Electricity From Renewables
The news comes shortly after the operating firm for National Grid, National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO), celebrated the UK’s first fortnight of coal-free electricity generation since pre-industrial times. In total, more than 650 coal-free hours were recorded between January and March 2019, with a further 100+ clocked up during May.
According to National Grid’s chief executive John Pettigrew, the firm’s next big challenge will be implementing measure now to reach net-zero “as quick as possible”. National Grid ESO first announced plans to run a zero-carbon network for the UK by 20205 – excluding Northern Ireland – in April, ahead of the Government’s newly unveiled plans for total decarbonisation by 2050.
“We take our responsibility to run the UK’s electricity and gas energy systems, in accordance with our licence obligations, extremely seriously and we seek to maintain the integrity of these systems while keeping energy costs down for UK homes and businesses,” Pettigrew said. “But as we look to the future, we are proud to champion world-leading feats of British engineering as we move to a net-zero power grid. The interconnectors that connect our electricity grid into Norway’s hydropower are part of this story, as is having the know-how to bring renewable generation onstream to complement conventional sources of generating power.”
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