Low-carbon sources help UK to report its ‘greenest’ summer ever

More than half of the UK’s electricity came from low-carbon sources this summer, according to the National Grid.

The power transmission network has said that this summer was the “greenest” summer on record in the UK.

Between late June and September, 52% percent of electricity generation was met by low-carbon sources, compared with about 35% four years ago.

The Grid has launched software that forecasts the carbon intensity of electricity up to two days ahead.

It hopes this will help people to understand and control energy use.

National Grid is working with Environmental Defense Fund Europe and WWF to make the software openly available to the public.

WWF has used the data as the basis of an online tool which points users to the best times to turn on or turn off home appliances to minimise carbon emissions, while Environmental Defense Fund Europe are working on policy implications of having this data available and widely understood.

Shifting the timing of activities such as running a dishwasher or charging electric vehicles could help relieve pressure on the energy system, reduce the need to use back-up fossil fuel plants, and potentially reduce bills for households.

Innovative apps

Duncan Burt, director of the System Operator at National Grid, said: “We're providing our forecast data in a format that allows technology companies to build innovative apps and software that could make a real difference to how and when people use energy.

“Clear and concise information that can tell you in advance when’s best to turn on the washing machine, load the dishwasher or charge your car for example, is a step in the right direction towards a low carbon future. This technology puts people at the heart of it, helping everyone to use power when it’s greenest, and likely, more cost efficient.

“It’s been an exciting year managing the many ‘network firsts’ - from a day where we operated the system with zero coal power, to one where over half of Great Britain’s energy demand was met by renewable generation -and we’re just as excited to see what developments come off the back of making this data available for all.

“The programming software combines National Grid’s deep knowledge of the UK energy system with weather data from the Met Office to forecast the share of renewable and non-renewable energy that will be on the UK electricity grid over the next 48 hours, and the resulting carbon emissions. National Grid’s data has been verified by experts from Oxford University.”

Energy Minister, Richard Harrington added: “Through the government’s Industrial Strategy we are delivering a record amount of renewable energy while boosting the economy and creating jobs up and down the country.

"With over half of Britain's electricity generated from low-carbon sources, we've had a truly green summer and we welcome this innovative new software. It has great potential to give consumers more control and is another step towards an energy system that's fit for the future.”

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