Learnings from Covid-19: a glimpse into a low carbon future?
Electricity supplies from renewable power, including Wind, Solar and Hydro, were greater than those from Gas, Oil and Coal-fired stations for the first time ever during the three months ending this September1! This positive news is a welcome achievement and comes at a time when National Grid predicts that we should have more than enough power this winter to meet national demand2.
Wind and Solar point the way
Wind farms in the North Sea are chiefly responsible for renewables passing this landmark in the electricity industry’s history. During the third quarter of 2019, Wind power provided 20% of the UK’s power supplies, with all renewables making up a total of 40%1. This is just ahead of the combined output from the traditional fossil-fuel stations, which are now mainly gas-fired.
Adding an expected 20% contribution from Nuclear across the year confirms National Grid’s belief that ‘carbon free’ supplies are now firmly in the majority and will continue to grow rapidly. Coal plants, responsible for just 1% of the total, are on the way out and will be gone altogether in the next few years1.
Renewable energy has more than quadrupled over the last 10 years whilst energy efficiency and structural changes to the economy have brought consumption levels down1. For some years to come, Gas will remain the balancing fuel within the mix, although its role will need to be reduced if the UK’s net-zero emissions target is to be achieved.
Renewables secure supplies for winter
National Grid’s Winter Outlook predicts that peak demand will fall whilst available supply, including from renewables, will increase 2. This means the grid is expected to meet anticipated peak demand on the system this winter.
Welcome news for businesses
The smooth transition to low carbon generation sources, whilst maintaining security of supply, will be welcome news to business customers. These figures confirm that those who have not already gone ‘low carbon’ can now do so both cost-effectively and secure in the knowledge that they will be buying from a grid dominated by renewables.