Britain: The Electricity System Looked ‘Greenest Ever’ Over This Easter

Great Britain’s electricity system was the greenest it had ever been at lunchtime on Easter legal holiday Monday, its operator said.

Sunny and windy weather, including low demand for power, led to a surge in renewable sources of energy, National Grid Electricity System Operator said.

It meant zero-carbon power sources made up almost 80% of Britain’s power.

There was no coal generation on the grid and just 10% of power was from gas plants, the operator added.

The National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) said levels of carbon pollution for every unit of electricity consumed dropped to only 39 grams of CO2 – rock bottom ever recorded for the grid – at 13:00 BST on Monday.

It said wind generation made up 39% of the energy mix, with solar at 21% and nuclear accounting for 16%.

By comparison, on Tuesday, 24.8% of Britain’s energy came from fossil fuels, most of which was gas (combined cycle), while 45.2% was renewable energy sources.

The previous record for Great Britain’s greenest day was set during lockdown last year, on 24 May.

When Britain went into lockdown, electricity demand plummeted and therefore the National Grid responded by taking power plants off the network and the four remaining coal-fired plants were among the primary to be shut down.

Last year as an entire saw many records broken for Britain’s electricity mix, with an almost 68-day coal-free run between 10 April and 16 June, and solar providing quite a third of electricity supplies on several occasions during May.

Christmas 2020 was also the first-ever coal-free Christmas Day.

Meanwhile, the very best ever amount of electricity generated by the wind was on 13 February this year.

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.”

The record comes before COP26, a UN international global climate change summit, due to being held in Glasgow this November.

Kate Blagojevic, head of the 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 serious government intervention can unblock the impasse,” she said.

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

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