A CEnv Perspective as Britain Breaks 13 Renewable Energy Records in 2017
05 January 2018
Chartered Environmentalist, Ian Byrne, comments on what the WWF describe as 'an exceptional year for renewable electricity production' after 13 renewable energy records are broken in 2017.
2017 has broken 13 different renewable energy records, putting it on track to be the greenest year ever for clean, electricity production. These records are across the clean electricity sector. Highlights of 2017 included the greenest summer ever, as well the first full day since the Industrial Revolution where there was no coal power, record breaking level of green power and the plummeting costs of off-shore wind.
National Grid, who are working with WWF on forecasting the carbon intensity of electricity, have verified these records.
Ian Byrne CEnv, Deputy Chief Executive at the National Energy Foundation and Honorary Treasurer at the Society for the Environment, offers an element of caution and suggests further improvements can be made, whilst also recognising a positive year;
"It’s good news that we have managed halve carbon emissions from electricity generation by massively increasing renewable energy. However, even electricity from low and zero carbon sources needs to be used efficiently. By taking more steps to limit total demand, and by managing its use by season or time of day, we can avoid the need to build extra capacity, ‘just in case’. This could mean we need fewer wind farms in areas where they could adversely impact historic landscapes, or need to burn less biomass that might cause problems with particulate emissions (smoke)."
Ian adds; "As a Chartered Environmentalist, I’m aware that combatting climate change is a complex issue, and we often need to balance environmental gains, such as zero carbon energy, with other environmental risks."
The Full List of Broken Records
Low Carbon Generation
- First 24 hour period without coal generation since the Industrial Revolution – 21 April
- Longest period without coal generation (40 hours 35 minutes) – 28-29 October
- Greenest summer ever, with almost 52% of our electricity generation from low carbon sources – 21 June to 22 September
- The lowest amount of carbon produced by electricity production at any one moment (73 gCO2/kWh) – 2 October
- The largest amount of electricity produced from renewable sources at any one moment (19.2 GW) –21 March
- First time ever wind, nuclear and solar were all generating more than both gas and coal combined – 7 June
- Most electricity production from solar power at any one moment (8.9 GW), a quarter of Britain’s electricity supply – 26 May
- Highest percentage of solar produced relative to national demand (26.8%) – 2 July
- Most wind power produced in a day (285GWh)– 7 December
- Most offshore wind generation at any one moment (4.3 GW) – 1 October
- Most electricity production from all wind generation at any one moment (12.4 GW) – 6 December
- Most electricity production from hydropower at any one moment (4 GW) – 27 February
- Record low strike price at the second Contracts for Difference subsidy auction of £57.50/MWh, well below Government guarantee for Hinkley C – 11 September
News source - WWF