The UK has set a new landmark for clean energy after the National Grid announced that the electricity powering the UK’s homes and businesses this summer was the greenest ever. The record comes as the first subsidy-free large solar power project opens in the UK, in what the government described as a significant moment for the energy sector.
Analysis by National Grid of power generation showed that a combination of solar, wind and nuclear – and an absence of coal – pushed carbon emissions to their lowest level yet over the season.
Between 21 June and 22 September, the carbon intensity of the grid – as measured in grams of C02 emitted per KWH of power generated – was more than halved from its level over the same period four years ago.
This summer, nearly 52% of power came from low-carbon sources, compared with 35% in 2013.
A growing number of solar and windfarms, coupled with nuclear and gas power stations, have transformed summer power supply and broken new records.
While National Grid said that handling the amount of variable, renewable power on the system is not adding to consumer costs at the moment, studies have shown a much higher penetration of green energy could result in higher bills.
In a further boost for green energy the climate minister, Claire Perry, on Tuesday will officially open a solar farm in Bedfordshire that has been billed as the first subsidy-free one of its kind in the UK. Perry hailed it as “a significant moment for clean energy in the UK”.