Q2 2020: Power system records

Download PDF

by Dr Iain Staffell – Imperial College London

Britain’s solar farms and biomass power stations had a record-breaking quarter. 

The 30th of May saw solar power provide a third of the country’s electricity demand at its peak. Biomass also reached new highs, supplying a sixth of electricity demand the previous night. Meanwhile, demand fell to its lowest levels this century, falling below 17 GW on the 28th of June. Coal power stations had their first full month of zero output, and natural gas hit its highest ever share of demand, exceeding 70% of electricity generated on the 16th of June. All in all, 38 of the 200 records we track were broken over the past quarter.

The tables below look over the past decade (2009 to 2020) and report the record output and share of electricity generation, plus sustained averages over a day, a month and a calendar year. Cells highlighted in blue are records that were broken in the second quarter of 2020. Each number links to the date it occurred on the Electric Insights website, allowing these records to be explored visually.

1: The annual records relate to calendar years, so cover the period of 2009 to 2019.

2: Note that Britain has no inter-seasonal electricity storage, so we only report on half-hourly and daily records. Elexon and National Grid only report the output of large pumped hydro storage plants. The operation of battery, flywheel and other storage sites is not publicly available.

Live Grid Data