This year, for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, more of Britain’s electricity production will come from zero-carbon energy sources than fossil fuels.
According to National Grid, annual power generation data from the last decade shows Britain’s reliance on cleaner energy sources (wind, solar, nuclear, hydropower and storage) will overtake fossil fuels (coal and gas-fired power generation) this year.
In May, Britain clocked up its first coal-free fortnight and generated record levels of solar power for two consecutive days, powering more than a quarter of the country’s daily electricity consumption.
John Pettigrew, CEO of National Grid, said: “The interconnectors that connect our electricity grid into Norway’s hydropower are part of this story, as is having the know-how to bring renewable generation onstream to complement conventional sources of generating power. This will help accelerate our progress towards delivering cleaner, greener energy for Britain’s homes, our travel and our work as quickly as possible.”
Britain’s energy system is in the midst of a rapid and complex transformation. The continued move to a clean power system will require significant upgrades to the transmission network, and National Grid is investing around £1.3bn each year to support this transition. Several factors have helped zero carbon beat fossil fuels so far this year, including the fact that 64.5 per cent of electricity imported to Britain through underwater cables, called interconnectors, has come from zero-carbon sources.
Public concern about climate change is at an all-time high. New research commissioned by National Grid found that “climate anxiety” is exacerbated by a perceived lack of urgency around addressing the problem and the impact this will have on future generations. Nearly seven out of ten (69 per cent) of Brits who are concerned about climate change said it was because they believe it’s not being addressed urgently enough.
By 2030, National Grid will have at least six interconnectors operating in Britain, through which 90 per cent of electricity imported will be from zero-carbon sources.
National Grid’s fifth underwater electricity cable, the North Sea Link, will plug British homes into Norway’s biggest hydro-dam. The world’s longest interconnector at 720km is being laid between Blyth in Northumberland and the Blasjo reservoir in Kvilldal.