Imperial College London: Renewables supplied more than 40% of Britain’s Q3 electricity demand

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Renewables supplied more than 40% of Britain’s electricity demand, their highest share for the third quarter of the year on record, according to the latest instalment of the quarterly Drax Electric Insights report - an independent report from Imperial College London.
This made it the lowest carbon quarter on record, with emissions falling below 150 g/kWh for the first time ever.
Last quarter’s generation mix produced an average of just 143 grams of CO2 per kWh. This is the first time that the milestone of 150 g/kWh has been beaten over a quarter and comes more than three years since this record was last broken, during the COVID lockdowns of early 2020.
Dr Iain Staffell of Imperial College London, and lead author of the quarterly Drax Electric Insights report series, said: “This is a milestone moment in the UK’s decarbonisation journey, getting our carbon emissions down by more than two-thirds in just a decade is a real achievement.
“With our renewable capacity continuing to grow, we should see more clean power records broken in the coming years. However, the long-term picture is more complicated, and it is vital that government continues to explore how to unlock investment in clean energy technologies.
“The rise in electric vehicles and heat pumps will push up electricity demand. We need to build more renewables of all types and kick-start negative emissions technologies, to not just keep pace with demand growth, but continue growing the share of clean energy and keep carbon emissions falling.”
One of the most striking illustrations of Britain’s changing power grid is the decline of coal.
New analysis by Drax Electric Insights has found in the 12 months to October 2023, coal supplied less than 1% of Britain’s electricity for the first time ever.
The country’s last remaining coal-fired power station will be retired next year as part of the government’s commitment to end the use of the fuel in electricity production by October 2024.
Penny Small, Drax’s interim chief operations officer, said: “Getting coal off the grid and replacing it with renewables such as biomass has been transformational for the UK.
“By converting Drax Power Station to use biomass we have secured jobs and simultaneously strengthened the UK’s energy security through generating a reliable source of dispatchable, renewable electricity for millions of homes and businesses.
“We’re now planning to go further by using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) to permanently remove millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year, and we are engaged in discussions with the UK Government to move this project forward.
“The global momentum for converting coal-fired power stations to biomass is growing as more countries work to reduce their emissions by moving away from fossil fuels to renewables while maintaining their energy security. If BECCS were eventually added to each of these sites, they would be able to remove carbon from the atmosphere while generating renewable power.”

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