Q2 2017: The quarter’s headlines

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by Dr Iain Staffell – Imperial College London 

Britain’s power system keeps breaking records: this issue charts the continued rise of clean electricity and its benefits across the wider energy system. 

Renewables hit a new milestone by producing 25% of Britain’s electricity over the quarter; while all low-carbon sources together produced 55% (see Article 1).

The carbon intensity of grid electricity is now its lowest ever, falling below 200 g/kWh over the quarter. It dipped below 100 g/kWh on four days, representing an important step towards hitting the crucial 2030 target set by the Committee on Climate Change (see Article 2). Clean electricity can enable electric vehicles to deliver clean personal transport. Article 3 dispels the myth that charging electric cars raises emissions compared to petrol and diesel, showing how they now produce less than half the CO2 per mile of the best cars on the market.

Solar power grew 17% on this quarter last year and hit three new records.  Article 4 looks at the rise of solar power, its variability, and Britain’s ‘camel curve’ of net demand. As a consequence, a growing share of Britain’s electricity no longer uses the national transmission system. For the first time, more than a tenth of demand over the quarter was produced and consumed locally, highlighting the shift towards a more decentralised power system (see Article 5).

Article 6 covers the statistics for the quarter, discussing the continued decline in coal output and prices spiking to over £1,500/MWh.

Daily generation mix over the quarter

Authors: Dr Iain StaffellProfessor Richard GreenDr Rob Gross and Professor Tim Green

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