Q4 2022: Power system records

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Dr Iain Staffell, Professor Richard Green, Professor Tim Green and Dr Malte Jansen – Imperial College London, Dr Malte Jansen – University of Sussex, Professor Rob Gross – UK Energy Research Centre

Wind and solar power both recorded their highest ever annual output in 2022, with wind producing 13% more than its previous record from 2020. Wind power had an excellent quarter, also beating its instantaneous and daily production records in November and December.

The end of December stands out with two exceptional days for the power system.  On the 29th, gas and fossil fuels had their minimum instantaneous and daily output, falling to a combined low of 1.64 GW in the early afternoon. On the 30th, two-thirds of the country’s electricity came from wind power alone, giving rise to the lowest carbon emissions seen to date: the first ever day when electricity averaged under 50 g/kWh.

2022 also saw records broken for coal, which fell to its lowest ever generation over the year, and power prices which hit an all-time high of £200/MWh averaged over the year. Exports tripled from their 2010 record of 1.9% of generation to 5.8% of generation this year.

The tables below look over the past decade (2009 to 2022) 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 fourth quarter of 2022. Each number links to the date it occurred on the Electric Insights website, so these records can be explored visually.

[3] 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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