Will we have a renewable energy-powered Christmas?

2018 could be the year that we’re dreaming of a green Christmas.

Last year, more than 40% of the electricity generated on Christmas Day came from renewable sources. We can thank our seasonally windy weather for some of this – wind power alone was contributing 27.7% of electricity at the Christmas Day peak.

Last year was a record-breaking one, but this year could be even better.

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The continued shift towards low-carbon generation from renewable sources, gas and biomass is helping to reduce the carbon intensity of the UK’s energy system – so while it may not be a white Christmas, it will certainly be a cleaner one.

Wind, for example, was contributing 27.9% (or 11.6 GW) to the UK grid on the 8th December 2017 – more than it contributed on Christmas Day last year. While the figures will depend on the weather conditions on the day, the signs are promising.

What’s more, the UK’s share of renewable energy capacity is higher this year than last. Figures from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy show the UK as standing at a total capacity of 38 GW, at time of publication.

To put that into context, the UK’s electricity peak on Christmas Day was 37.1 GW (year round, this isn’t too high thanks to businesses closing and technology like more efficient Christmas lighting). It is very unlikely that we will see Christmas Day powered entirely by renewable energy, but it is not unreasonable to expect an improvement on last year’s figure of 40%.

According to the National Grid’s Winter Outlook Report – the document which analyses security of supply over the winter months – there is a protective 6.2 GW margin of electricity supply, ready to come online if needed over the winter.

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Andy Koss, CEO of Drax Power, commented on how Drax Power will be doing its bit to help to keep the Christmas lights on with renewable energy:

“Flexible technologies like biomass and gas are critical during the winter months they can provide power when we need it most – in the morning and evenings when it is cold and dark, or at times of system stress, such as when the sun isn’t shining, or the wind doesn’t blow.

“Biomass is a reliable, flexible renewable available at scale, which is able to provide the full range of support services the grid needs to retain stable supplies – whatever the weather.”

Drax’s power station in Selby, Yorkshire is responsible for producing as much as 17% of the UK’s renewable energy thanks to the fact that it has converted some of its generating units from coal to biomass.

With Opus Energy customers’ energy coming primarily from clean sources (last year, 90% of the energy supplied to our customers has come from renewable sources at no extra cost), we’re hopeful for a more sustainable 2018…

Figures in this article come from www.electricinsights.co.uk, a collaborative report by Drax and Imperial College London which explores the impact and trends of the UK’s electricity generation.

Comments

  1. Hopefully, yes. I believe that it is possible. These data is good comparing in last few years.

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