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July 7th, 2019 at 11:21 am

Britain generating more electricity from zero carbon than fossil fuels for first time since industrial revolution

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Wind turbines on the west coast of cumbria near workington, Cumbria, Uk, with a flock of Herring Gulls flying past.

The figures were described as a landmark tipping point.

Britain is generating more of its energy from zero carbon sources than fossil fuels for the first time since the industrial revolution in a landmark tipping point, National Grid has confirmed.

In what was described as an historic milestone, and a watershed moment, the amount of electricity coming from wind, solar, nuclear and hydro power overtook coal and gas by more than one percentage point at the end of May.

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  • Coal and gas now generates 46.7 per cent of Britain’s power network, but zero carbon has pushed ahead to 47.9 per cent.
  • In 2009, three-quarters (75.6 per cent) of electricity production came from fossil fuels and just 22.3 per cent was zero-carbon. A decade ago coal alone made up one…
  • In 2009, three-quarters (75.6 per cent) of electricity production came from fossil fuels and just 22.3 per cent was zero-carbon. A decade ago coal alone made up one third of Britain’s energy supply but today it is less than three per cent.

Energy from wind has increased dramatically from 1.3 per cent a decade ago to 18.8 per cent in 2019.

John Pettigrew, CEO of National Grid, said: “The incredible progress that Britain has made in the past ten years means we can now say 2019 will be the year zero carbon power beats fossil fuel fired generation for the first time.”

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Coal power now makes up less than three per cent of electricity generation

Over the new few years, the percentage of zero carbon electricity will increase substantially when Britain links up Norway’s hydro network via 450 mile cable network, which is expected to provide energy for nearly 750,000 homes in the UK.

The £1.5 billion project, due for completion in 2021, will run from Blyth in Northumberland to Blasjo reservoir in Kvilldal, the site of the biggest hydro power plant in Northern Europe.

The agreement with Norway is forecast to save British households up to £3.5bn over 25 years.

Nigel Williams, director for the project for National Grid said: “Norway presents a great opportunity to get some of their excess hydro over to the UK which will displace some of the fossil fuel plant.

“It reduces customer bills in the UK because we will be replacing top-of-the-range coal and gas plant with baseload hydro, so energy prices will have a downward effect in the UK.”

The UK already has electricity interconnectors with France, Ireland and the Netherlands and three per cent of electricity imported to Britain through underwater cables, now comes from zero carbon sources.

By 2030, National Grid will have at least six interconnectors operating in Britain, through which 90 per cent of electricity imported will be from zero carbon sources, helping to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector by approximately 17 per cent.

In May, Britain saw its first coal-free fortnight and generated record levels of solar power for two days in a row, supplying more than a quarter of the country’s daily electricity consumption.

Gareth Redmond-King, head of climate at conservation charity WWF, said: “All of this is helping us to decarbonise our power system which is absolutely crucial to the kind of action we need to take to tackle the climate crisis.”

Last week Theresa May has also committed Britain becoming a ‘net zero’ economy by 2050.

Commenting on the new figures Greenpeace UK chief scientist Dr Doug Parr said: “This is a watershed moment in British energy history and a sign that we’re broadly heading in the right direction.

“With legislation on a 2050 net zero target before parliament and Britain likely hosting next year’s UN climate summit, the UK government has an opportunity to seize the moment and spur world leaders into taking radical action.”

Via The Telegraph

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