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Britain had almost 80% electricity from zero carbon sources over Easter

Wednesday, 07 April 2021

  • Zero-carbon sources made up almost 80 percent of the UK’s energy mix on Monday (5 April 2021). 
  • In addition, renewable electricity generation outperformed fossil fuels for the first year ever in 2020.

Great Britain's electricity system was the greenest it had ever been at lunchtime with low-carbon energy sources making up almost 80% of Britain's power on the Easter Holiday on Monday according to its electricity grid operator National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO).

The ESO said levels of carbon pollution for each unit of electricity consumed dropped to just 39 grams of carbon dioxide - the lowest ever recorded for the grid - at 13:00 BST on Monday. The operator added that wind power made up 39% of the energy mix, with solar at 21% and nuclear accounting for 16%.

Fossil fuel generation has been dropping rapidly in Britain, last month, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Energy Trends report showed that renewable energy generation outstripped fossil fuels in 2020 for the first year ever. Onshore and offshore wind provided more than half of the UK’s renewable power in 2020 by generating 24.2% of the total 312.8 TWh (13% from offshore wind and 11.2% from onshore wind). In total, low carbon sources (renewables and nuclear) generated 59%. The report further noted that the 2020 record was driven mainly by high levels of generation from wind which increased by 18% compared to 2019.

Fintan Slye, director at National Grid ESO, said: "This latest record is another example of how the grid continues to transform at an astonishing rate as we move away from fossil fuel generation and harness the growth of renewable power sources.

"It's an exciting time, and the progress we're seeing with these records underlines the significant strides we're taking towards our ambition of being able to operate the system carbon-free by 2025."

Kate Blagojevic, head of climate at Greenpeace UK, praised the progress on taking fossil fuels out of the energy mix, but added that it was "no time for the UK government to rest on its laurels".

"Carbon emissions from our homes, farms, and roads remain stubbornly high, and only a major government intervention can unblock the impasse," she said.

"As the Glasgow climate summit looms closer, ministers really need to up their game on tackling UK carbon emissions right across the board."

Sources: Britain's electricity system 'greenest ever' over Easter - BBC News

Renewable energy generation outstrips fossil fuels for first year ever - RenewableUK