More electricity is to be generated from zero carbon sources than fossil fuels in Britain this year, marking a historic milestone for the country, thanks to a number of innovative approaches such as connecting Britain’s electricity grid to its neighbours via under water cables called interconnectors, including the new North Sea Link plugging Britain into Norway’s hydro network.
According to National Grid, annual power generation data from the last decade shows Britain’s reliance on cleaner energy sources (wind, solar, nuclear, hydropower and storage) will overtake fossil fuels (coal and gas fired power generation) this year. This is a major step in Britain’s journey towards the UK Government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.
In May, Britain marked its first coal free fortnight and generated record levels of solar power for two consecutive days, powering more than a quarter of the country’s daily electricity consumption.
“The incredible progress that Britain has made in the past ten years means we can now say 2019 will be the year net zero power beats fossil fuel fired generation for the first time,” said John Pettigrew, CEO of National Grid. “Having reached this landmark tipping point, the question is what are we doing today to get to net zero as quickly as possible?
“We take our responsibility to run the UK’s electricity and gas energy systems, in accordance with our licence obligations, extremely seriously. We seek to maintain the integrity of these systems while keeping energy costs down for UK homes and businesses. But as we look to the future we are proud to champion world-leading feats of British engineering as we move to a net zero power grid.
“The interconnectors that connect our electricity grid into Norway’s hydro power are part of this story, as is having the know-how to bring renewable generation onstream to complement conventional sources of generating power. This will help accelerate our progress towards delivering cleaner, greener energy for Britain’s homes, our travel and our work as quickly as possible.”
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.
National Grid’s fifth under water electricity cable, the North Sea Link, will plug British homes into the Kvilldal hydroelectric project, Norway’s largest hydroelectric dam. The world’s longest interconnector at 720km is being laid between Blyth in Northumberland and the Blasjo reservoir in Kvilldal, with construction expected to be complete in 2021.