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UK powers to new grid carbon intensity low of just 39g CO2/kWh

Image: SSE.

Image: SSE.

The UK recorded a new grid carbon intensity low last weekend, as the country enjoyed extensive periods of fifth carbon budget-compliant power generation.

The new record low - 39g CO2/kWh - was recorded at 3:24pm on Saturday 17 August, and came as wind sent renewables’ contribution to electricity demand soaring.

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Data compiled by Drax Electricity Insights shows that, throughout Saturday, renewables provided more than two-thirds (67%) of the country’s power as wind contributed some 43%. When combined with nuclear and other low carbon sources, the country’s low carbon fleet contributed the significant majority - 87% - of UK power.

That resulted in an average grid carbon intensity of 72g CO2/kWh for that 24-hour period, achieved at an average spot price of £31.85/MWh.

Average carbon intensity dipped even lower the following day, Sunday 18 August, to 70g CO2/kWh, triggered by coal dropping off the grid once again.

The UK’s binding fifth carbon budget stipulates that power generation emissions must not rise above 100g CO2/kWh by 2032, setting a target range of between 50g - 100g within the budget’s time frame of 2027 - 2032.

From Friday evening to Monday morning, the UK’s grid carbon intensity dipped to within that target for around 53 hours over the course of two separate spells, running from 23:45 on Friday evening till 19:45 on Saturday evening, and from 21:45 on Saturday evening until 06:45 on Monday morning.

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