Q4 2020: Power system records

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Dr Iain Staffell, Professor Richard Green, Professor Tim Green, Professor Rob Gross and Dr Malte Jansen -Imperial College London

2020 was yet another year of extremes, with the power system moving further into new territory.  

Just as in 2019, all clean electricity sources broke their previous annual production records. Wind, solar and biomass reached all-time highs in 2020, while nuclear fell to its lowest output in over a decade. 2020 also saw the lowest electricity production from coal and fossil fuels, the lowest demand, lowest price and lowest carbon emissions in over a decade.

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.[1]  Cells highlighted in blue are records that were broken in the fourth 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, covering the period of 2009 to 2020.

[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.

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