trending Market Intelligence /marketintelligence/en/news-insights/trending/b-y-U1dkiq2uUlL5KV2l9A2 content
Log in to other products

Login to Market Intelligence Platform


Looking for more?

Contact Us

Request a Demo

You're one step closer to unlocking our suite of comprehensive and robust tools.

Fill out the form so we can connect you to the right person.

If your company has a current subscription with S&P Global Market Intelligence, you can register as a new user for access to the platform(s) covered by your license at Market Intelligence platform or S&P Capital IQ.

  • First Name*
  • Last Name*
  • Business Email *
  • Phone *
  • Company Name *
  • City *
  • We generated a verification code for you

  • Enter verification Code here*

* Required

Thank you for your interest in S&P Global Market Intelligence! We noticed you've identified yourself as a student. Through existing partnerships with academic institutions around the globe, it's likely you already have access to our resources. Please contact your professors, library, or administrative staff to receive your student login.

At this time we are unable to offer free trials or product demonstrations directly to students. If you discover that our solutions are not available to you, we encourage you to advocate at your university for a best-in-class learning experience that will help you long after you've completed your degree. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

In This List

Zero-carbon power outstrips fossil fuels for 1st time in Britain

Q2: U.S. Solar and Wind Power by the Numbers

Essential Energy Insights - September 17, 2020

Essential Energy Insights September 2020

Rate case activity slips, COVID-19 proceedings remain at the forefront in August

Zero-carbon power outstrips fossil fuels for 1st time in Britain

Electricity generated from renewables and other zero-carbon sources eclipsed fossil fuels for the first time in Britain during the past 12 months, making 2019 the cleanest year on record for the country's energy system.

Data released by grid operator National Grid PLC shows renewables and nuclear power plants, as well as electricity imports from abroad, made up 48.5% of Britain's electricity in 2019. That stacks up against 43% from fossil fuels, chiefly gas, excluding 8.5% generated from burning biomass and waste.

Coal generation, in particular, has dropped drastically in the U.K. over the past decades: the fuel made up 75% of the power mix in 1990, but contributed 2.1% last year. In June, no coal plant in the country produced electricity for more than 18 days — the longest period ever — shattering a record set a month earlier.

"As we enter a new decade, this truly is a historic moment and an opportunity to reflect on how much has been achieved," National Grid CEO John Pettigrew said in a statement.

Although coal plants have stayed afloat thanks in part to capacity payments, the government wants to phase out unabated coal generation by 2025. In the meantime a carbon price, which fossil generators in Britain have had to pay on top of the EU's emissions scheme, has already seen a raft of closures.

Electricité de France SA shut its 2,000-MW Cottam Power Station in September 2019 and two others — SSE PLC's 1,510-MW Fiddlers Ferry Power Station and RWE AG's 1,560-MW Aberthaw B ST — are scheduled to close by the end of March.

That will leave Britain with only three coal-fired power stations, operated by EDF, Uniper SE and Drax Group PLC, which has plans to convert its last two coal units to gas. Energetický a prumyslový holding a.s. operates another plant in Northern Ireland, which does not share a grid with the rest of the U.K.

Last year, wind, solar and hydropower generated 26.5% of Britain's electricity, with 16.8% from nuclear reactors and 8% from imports. The U.K. regularly imports cheap nuclear power from neighboring France, but also operates subsea interconnectors to the Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland.

To reach its target of net-zero emissions by 2050, enshrined in law last year, the Conservative government has promised to increase offshore wind power capacity to 40 GW by 2030. The U.K. already leads the world in offshore wind development and contracts awarded in the latest capacity tender dropped below the market price of electricity.

But experts have warned that reaching the net-zero goal will require additional support for onshore renewables, especially to make up for the closure of aging nuclear plants over the coming decade. Subsidies for onshore wind and solar were phased out several years ago and have led to a slowdown in new development.