Britain registers cleanest year as zero-carbon power beats fossil fuels

Walney Extension turbines at sunset. Source: ├śrsted A/S

January 6 (Renewables Now) - Britain has covered 48.5% of its power demand in 2019 with zero-carbon electricity, while fossil fuels accounted for 43%.

This is the first time for zero-carbon sources including wind, solar and nuclear power, to outstrip fossil fuels, making 2019 the cleanest year on record for the UK, according to statistics released by local electricity and gas utility National Grid Plc (LON:NG). In addition to locally produced clean power, imports also helped green the mix.

Biomass power met the remaining 8.5% of electricity consumption by UK homes and businesses.

The table below compares the shares of different power generation sources in 2019 and 1990. The UK is looking to achieve an emissions reduction of at least 100% based on 1990 levels.

Source 2019 share 1990 share
Coal + Other 2.1% 75.0%
Gas 38.4% 0.1%
Nuclear 16.8% 18.8%
Wind + Solar + Hydro 26.5% 2.3%
Biomass & Waste 8.2% 0.0%
Imports 8.0% 3.8%
Fossil fuels 43.0% 75.5%
Zero Carbon 48.5% 24.4%
Biomass & Waste 8.5% 0.1%

Last month, National Grid shared its plans to spend nearly GBP 10 billion (USD 13.1bn/EUR 11.7bn) on the gas and electricity networks over a five-year period, including GBP 1 billion to support the transition to a Net Zero carbon electricity system.

(GBP 1.0 = USD 1.310/EUR 1.172)

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