The UK enjoyed its greenest ever half hour period of electricity production on Monday morning, as wind and nuclear provided the bulk of electricity and coal was pushed off the grid entirely.
Between 12.30am and 1am on Monday night the carbon intensity of grid electricity dropped to a record low of 73 grams of CO2 per kWh, National Grid said yesterday, with fossil fuels providing just 11 per cent of output.
Delivering a carbon intensity of below 100g per kWh for the UK grid electricity is seen as a watermark for the UK to meet its carbon reduction targets, with the government’s climate change watchdog, the Committee on Climate Change, recommending it becomes the norm for grid energy by 2030.
Although Monday’s reading of 73g CO2 per kWh was a record low, National Grid’s new two-day carbon intensity forecast correctly predicted the carbon intensity of the grid would again drop below 100 grams per kWh this morning, and it is expected to do so twice more this week.
The new forecasting tool is designed to help utilities nudge consumers on the best time to charge laptops, electric cars or other energy intensive devices, and National Grid hopes it will pave the way for new apps and devices that promote demand shifting to greener times of the day.
James Beard, climate and energy specialist at WWF UK, said this week’s results were a “huge step in the right direction”, but warned more work is needed for the UK to hit its climate targets.
“The UK government’s long-overdue Clean Growth Plan must set out clearly how we will continue to reduce our emissions and boost investment not just in renewables, but also energy efficiency and electric vehicles,” he said.
In related news, data released last week by the US Department of Energy found renewable energy production in America was up 10 per cent in the first six months of 2017 compared to the same period a year earlier.
Solar production and use grew by almost 40 per cent, hydropower by 16 per cent, wind by 15 per cent, and geothermal by one per cent. In comparison, the US’ overall consumption of fossil fuels was down by one per cent compared to the same period last year, although coal production was up 16 per cent.
“Notwithstanding desperate efforts by the Trump Administration to prop up nuclear power and fossil fuels, they continue to lose ground to the mix of renewable energy sources,” noted Ken Bossong, executive director of green energy campaign group the SUN DAY Campaign.