Sparks fly in record breaking year for Britain’s electricity system

Despite its obvious challenges, 2020 was a record breaking year for Britain’s electricity system. Data shows that 2020 was officially the greenest year on record with an average carbon intensity of 181 gCO2/kWh.

During the nation’s first lockdown, we even saw the longest coal free run since the industrial revolution. Record low electricity demand, large periods of coal free power generation and record levels of wind and solar generation all helped to reduce 2020’s carbon intensity.

The pie chart below shows the breakdown of how our nation’s power was generated last year.

The question now becomes how can we build on this momentum to ensure our electricity system remains green and reliable for years to come?

The first major policy announcement to support Government plans to ‘Build Back Greener’ from the COVID pandemic was unveiled on 18th November.  The Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a green industrial revolution announced targets to accelerate our transition to electric vehicles, bringing forward the ban on new petrol car sales by ten years to 2030. Among a raft of other measures, the plan outlined targets to increase our offshore wind capacity to 40GW by 2030, which is enough offshore capacity to power every home.

The policy announcements did not stop there, on 14th December the much anticipated Energy White Paper was published. Building on the PM’s 10 Point Plan, the White Paper sets out the specific steps government will take to reduce emissions in power, industry and buildings by up to 230 million metric tonnes over the next decade; in particular, supporting the deployment of Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage as well as establishing a UK Emissions Trading System, which went live on 1st January this year.

Whilst it may not have provided the comprehensive plan to achieve net zero by 2050 that some were expecting, there is no doubt The Energy White Paper provides a welcomed focus for the need to expedite both job growth and rapid decarbonisation. We now eagerly await the release of further policy papers to support this narrative over the coming months; the Heat and Buildings Strategy, Transport Decarbonisation Plan, Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy and Hydrogen Strategy in particular. 

With COP26 on the horizon and lockdown measures continuing well into spring, 2021 is set to be another exciting year for energy.

Niccolo’s Electricity journey started in 2017, and we are currently working to perfect our offering to re-launch later this year. Niccolo has also partnered with the UK’s leading independent supplier of electric car charging services and EV chargers in the UK, to offer our customers EV charge points. To find out more on how this could benefit your business email or call 0131 610 8868.

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