Q3 2017: Capacity and production statistics

Download PDF

by Dr Iain Staffell – Imperial College London 

It was an uneventful three months for Britain’s power system, looking very similar to Quarter 2. 

Low carbon sources continued to supply more electricity than fossil fuels, generating 33.5 TWh over the quarter, compared to 30 TWh from gas and coal. Coal formed less than 3% of generation over the quarter. 4 in 5 days saw more output from wind than coal, more from solar than coal, and more from biomass than coal. 
The share of low-carbon generation reached a new high of 55.0%, slightly up from 54.7% in Quarter 2. Output from all renewable sources was up on last year, with wind and biomass both increasing by over 30%. 

Demand was unchanged from this quarter last year, marking a brief pause in the 1–2% annual decline seen since 2005. Temperatures were 1.3ºC lower than this time last year, prompting more demand from electric heating. 

Electricity consumption resulted in carbon emissions of 13.6 million tonnes of CO2, of which 1.3 Mt were produced abroad. The carbon intensity of electricity averaged 202 g/kWh, one-fifth lower than the average over the last twelve months. Total emissions are down from 15.0 Mt in Q3 last year, and 22.2 Mt the year before. The lowest instantaneous carbon intensity was 95 g/kWh, and 250 hours had a carbon intensity of below 150 g/kWh.

Britain’s electricity supply mix in the third quarter of 2017

Installed capacity and electricity produced by each technology1

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

  1. Other statistical sources give different values because of the types of plant they consider. For example, BEIS Energy Trends records an additional 900 MW of wind, 600 MW of biomass and 500 MW of solar, respectively producing 1.4, 1.2 and 0.2 TWh extra per quarter. These plants and their output are not visible to the electricity system and so cannot be reported on here. 
  2. These are the raw values from National Grid and Elexon, and may differ from other sources (such as BEIS or DUKES) due towhich farms are included in the data and the estimation of installed capacity. 

Live Grid Data