zero carbon electricity in 2025A report released by National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has found that GB’s electricity network is on track to becoming zero carbon electricity by 2025.

UK on track for periods of zero carbon electricity in 2025

zero carbon electricity in 2025

Are we on track for zero carbon electricity by 2025?

A report released by National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has found that GB’s electricity network is on track to becoming fossil fuel free by 2025.

Published on 15 June, the report outlines the new approaches and technologies, such as the various Pathfinder projects, which are transforming how the ESO operates in order to accommodate 100% zero carbon electricity.

One of the key developments that the report highlights is the growth in renewable power, along with the policies which have help drive this change.

This has seen coal-fired power go from providing roughly one-quarter of commercial electricity five years ago, to just 1.6% of the generation mix in 2020.

The report goes on to note that electricity from renewable sources has increased tenfold, with notable growth observed in the past decade. In 2011, less than 5.0% of electricity in GB was renewable, by 2019 this reached a record high of 37.1%.

This growth has been made possible due to several policy initiatives, such as the Climate Change Act 2008, or market frameworks and initiatives such as Contracts for Difference, which have supported renewable generation onto the grid.

Looking beyond 2020, the ESO outlines three main trends and areas of focus. The first of these is the aspect of decarbonisation with the changing makeup of the generation mix. The second is decentralisation change has not only been the technologies supplying electricity but also their location and the impact this has on the ESO in managing the system.

The ESO’s challenge is scaling up solutions to deal with the increasingly decentralised network. The last point concerns digitisation, with the ESO using the latest technologies to speed up and automate products and services required to deal with supply and demand imbalances driven by greater renewables penetration.

The report goes on to cite the rollout of the Dynamic Containment service in September 2020, used to manage system frequency much closer to real time.

Figure 1: Recent zero carbon highlights

> May 21 2021: highest ever level and share of wind power.

> April 5 2021: lowest ever carbon intensity (39gCO2/kWh).

> May 30 2020: highest ever share of solar power (34%).

> May 2020: greenest month on record (143gCO2/kWh).

> April 2020: highest ever level of solar power (9.7GW).

> April-June 2020: longest ever GB coal-free period.

> Total coal-free hours in 2020: 5,147 hours.

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