Sunday, July 12, 2020

Decade of decarbonisation as UK shifts to renewables – study

A new independent study has found that the UK’s move towards renewables has helped drive a faster rate of decarbonisation over the last decade than anywhere else in the world.

Over the period, carbon emissions in Britain’s power sector fell by around two thirds to 54 million metric tonnes in 2019 from 161 million tonnes in 2010 as the country’s generators shifted away from coal and natural gas to renewables such as sustainable biomass.

Electricity demand, which fell 13% over the decade, delivered around a third of the decline in carbon emissions in the sector over the period, while wind energy delivered a quarter of the reduction, according to an independent analysis by academics from Imperial College London for Drax Electric Insights.

The fall in power demand came even as the population grew by 7% and GDP rose by a quarter as measures such as more energy efficient lighting, manufacturing and other efficiency measures took hold.

However, this decline could be reversed in the years ahead with the rise in the use of electric vehicles and household heat pumps, meaning further decarbonisation cannot be achieved through a reduction in demand alone.

The report warns that with the greater reliance on weather-dependent sources ‘system operability will undoubtedly become more difficult in the years to come’, with a need for increased system support services and greater flexibility.

“In the past decade, we’ve seen unprecedented changes in Britain’s power system, which has transformed at a speed never seen before,” said Dr Iain Staffell of Imperial College London and lead author of the quarterly Electric Insights reports.

“Several factors made significant contributions to falling emissions including carbon prices, coal retirements, conversions to biomass and the growth in wind capacity. But reductions in electricity demand dwarfed all the others – helping to push down power prices and environmental impacts.

“If this pace of change can be maintained, renewables could provide more than half Britain’s electricity by the end of this decade and the power system could be practically carbon free.”

Biomass provided a bigger reduction in emissions and wholesale power prices than solar power relative to the size of its installed capacity, according to the report.

Andy Koss, Drax CEO of Generation, said: “Replacing coal with sustainable biomass at Drax has cut our carbon emissions by more than 80%, transforming the business to become the largest renewable power generator in the UK, accelerating decarbonisation over the decade as well as supporting lower wholesale power prices.

“As the UK strives to achieve its world-leading net zero carbon target, it’s clear the power system will have to continue evolving and many different solutions, including negative emissions technologies like bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), will be needed alongside more renewables.

“BECCS, which Drax is pioneering, has the potential to permanently remove 16 million tonnes of carbon a year from the atmosphere and help other sectors like aviation to reach net zero.”

Yorkshire-based Drax supplies 12% of the UK’s renewable electricity using sustainable biomass.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our news site - please take a moment to read this important message:

As you know, our aim is to bring you, the reader, an editorially led news site and magazine but journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them.

With the Covid-19 lockdown having a major impact on our industry as a whole, the advertising revenues we normally receive, which helps us cover the cost of our journalists and this website, have been drastically affected.

As such we need your help. If you can support our news sites/magazines with either a small donation of even £1, or a subscription to our magazine, which costs just £31.50 per year, (inc p&P and mailed direct to your door) your generosity will help us weather the storm and continue in our quest to deliver quality journalism.

As a subscriber, you will have unlimited access to our web site and magazine. You'll also be offered VIP invitations to our events, preferential rates to all our awards and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Just click here to subscribe and in the meantime may I wish you the very best.




Latest news

Regeneration proposals to be developed for Goole

East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Cabinet has confirmed support for developing a Town Deal for Goole. Councillors have agreed to press ahead with preparation of...

University Centre completes in Grantham

Work to create a University Centre to deliver higher education and skills training in Grantham is now complete. Degrees, high-level apprenticeships, diplomas and short courses...

IPF ‘very encouraged’ by firm’s improving performance

International Personal Finance (IPF), a Leeds-based consumer credit firm, has reported an uptick in collections in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Collections reached 88%...

Sheffield’s Heart of the City II moves forward

Sheffield’s ongoing Heart of the City II scheme is moving forward as the city council pledges “exemplary ethical and sustainability standards” whilst also opening...

350 jobs on the line at Arup

Arup, which has offices in Leeds, Sheffield and York, is set to cut 350 jobs. The engineering and design consultancy's redundancies come as a result...

Leeds RICS office to close

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is closing its Leeds office according to reports in Property Week. Other offices set to shut are in...

Related news

Regeneration proposals to be developed for Goole

East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Cabinet has confirmed support for developing a Town Deal for Goole. Councillors have agreed to press ahead with preparation of...

University Centre completes in Grantham

Work to create a University Centre to deliver higher education and skills training in Grantham is now complete. Degrees, high-level apprenticeships, diplomas and short courses...

IPF ‘very encouraged’ by firm’s improving performance

International Personal Finance (IPF), a Leeds-based consumer credit firm, has reported an uptick in collections in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Collections reached 88%...

Sheffield’s Heart of the City II moves forward

Sheffield’s ongoing Heart of the City II scheme is moving forward as the city council pledges “exemplary ethical and sustainability standards” whilst also opening...

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close