More than half of the UK’s electricity has come from low-carbon sources for the first time, a new study has found. The research from energy company Drax, which operates a biomass power station, found electricity from low-emission sources had peaked at 50.2 per cent between July and September. It comes after the Government announced plans that would see Britain’s coal-fired power stations probably close by 2025. Drax has launched a new quarterly report in collaboration with Imperial College London on trends in the UK energy market. The first edition published today, showed that in the last quarter, for the first time ever, more than half of the UK’s electricity was generated from low-carbon sources including UK nuclear, imported French nuclear, biomass, hydro, wind and solar. The report said: “Britain’s electricity was completely coal-free for nearly six days over the last quarter.
Independent 13th Nov 2016 read more »
Letter Paul Massara: By confirming its intention to phase out coal-fired electricity generation by 2025, the government has injected a welcome piece of clarity into the often muddled picture of UK energy policy. Coal generation is a technology of the past; it produces the highest carbon emissions of any fuel, its air pollution carries health consequences that economic analyses rarely recognise, and our power stations are nearly half a century old. It strains credence to think that this is the route to 21st-century energy security. The point is raised regularly that renewable technologies such as wind farms and solar panels do not generate electricity continuously, risking continuity of supply and therefore economic damage. If this is planned for on a system basis, it ceases to be a problem. For evidence, we can look to Germany. While not everything in its energy policy is sensible, the nation generates one-third of its electricity from renewables, and yet the rate of power cuts is falling, not rising. The challenge for Theresa May and her ministers is to plan the future of the UK system thoroughly. Generation, yes – but also storage, interconnection and demand-shifting for the grid. As the now-disbanded Energy and Climate Change Select Committee showed, lack of clarity has discouraged investment and raised costs. Phasing out coal firmly and confidently is a sensible and pragmatic step; it will on its own encourage investment in clean, modern technologies, but system-wide policymaking is needed if the UK is to build an affordable, robust, low-carbon energy system that works for everyone.
FT 14th Nov 2016 read more »