Zero-carbon electricity outstrips fossil fuels in Britain across 2019

The Guardian/01-01-2020

LONDON: Zero-carbon energy became Britain’s largest electricity source in 2019, delivering nearly half the country’s electrical power and for the first time outstripping generation by fossil fuels. Following a dramatic decline in coal-fired power and arise in renewable and low-carbon energy, 2019 was the cleanest year for electrical energy on record for Britain, according to National Grid, which owns and operates the electricity transmission network in England and Wales, and also runs the Scottish networks. National Grid’s latest data shows that wind farms, solar and nuclear energy, alongside energy imported by subsea cables, delivered 48.5% of Britain’s electricity in 2019. This compares to 43% generated by fossil fuels –coal, gas, and other carbon sources such as oil and diesel. The remaining 8.5% was generated by biomass, such as wood pellets. This milestone comes as the UK enters the mid-point between 1990 and 2050, the year in which it has committed to achieve at least a 100% net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions based on 1990 levels, and to become a net zero carbon economy. A decade ago, fossil fuels generated more than three-quarters of all electricity, while zero-carbon sources accounted for less than a quarter (22.8%), with wind at 1.3%. Then, coal plants provided almost a third of the UK’s electricity. This has dwindled to 1.9%, and Britain set a new record for going without coal-powered energy altogether in summer 2019.