Britain sees its cleanest year on record

07 January 2020 by Grace Coleman
blog author

​The amount of zero carbon power exceeded that from fossils fuels last year, making 2019 the cleanest year on record for Britain, according to National Grid.

The utility company released data which shows wind farms, solar, nuclear energy, and energy imported by subsea interconnectors, provided just under half (48.5 per cent) of Britain’s electricity in 2019. Fossil fuels generated 43 per cent and the remaining 8.5 per cent was generated by biomass.

The UK has committed to achieve at least a 100 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050, based on 1990 levels. It has now entered the mid-point between 1990 and 2050 which marks the cleanest year on record as a historic milestone.

John Pettigrew, National Grid CEO, said: “As we enter a new decade, this truly is a historic moment and an opportunity to reflect on how much has been achieved.

“At National Grid, we know we have a critical role in the acceleration towards a cleaner future and are committed to playing our part in delivering a safe and secure energy system that works for all.”

In 1990, zero carbon power was just 24.4 per cent, and 75.5 per cent of generated energy came from fossil fuels.

Coal energy was at 75 per cent in 1990 compared to 2.1 per cent in 2019.

National Grid set out plans last month to invest almost £10bn in the UK’s gas and electricity networks over five years.

Almost a billion pounds has been designated to enable the transition to net zero including investments in new equipment and technology. This will help the electricity system operator (ESO) to operate a net zero carbon electricity system over the next five years.

A total of £85m has been allocated to support the decarbonisation of heat within the gas transmission network.

For the UK to reach its net-zero target, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) believes that domestic renewable energy generation must quadruple by 2050, against a 2017 baseline.

A net-zero target would require a 100 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. ‘Net’ refers to the expectation that it would be met with some remaining sources of emissions which would need to be offset by removals of CO2 from the atmosphere (i.e. planting trees.)