Q4 2023: Power system records

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Britain’s power system saw a range of new extremes, breaking annual records on several fronts. 2023 saw:

  • The highest ever renewables share: over two-fifths of annual demand met by wind, biomass, solar and hydro.
  • The highest ever wind generation: over 9 GW averaged across the year.
  • The highest share of imports: over 12% of electricity consumed in Britain.
  • The lowest electricity demand since 1987: falling below 30 GW averaged over the year.
  • The lowest share of fossil fuels in the generation mix: below one-third for the first time ever.
  • The lowest ever carbon emissions: falling below 150 g/kWh.  Britain’s electricity was cleaner than ever during the final quarter of the year, reaching a new monthly minimum of 131 g/kWh in October, and then breaking this record again with 124 g/kWh during December.

The tables below look over the past fourteen years (2009 to 2023) 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 2023, or annual records broken in 2023.  Each number links to the date it occurred on the Electric Insights website, so these records can be explored visually.

[1] 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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