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Graph of the Day: Wind, solar produce new record in UK

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A new record has been set in the UK, with clean energy providing 70 per cent of the country’s electricity demand on Wednesday afternoon, and each of wind, solar and nuclear power generating more  coal and gas combined.

The National Grid said the landmark was achieved for the first time at 1pm local time on Wednesday, and follows the first occasion of negative prices being reached a day earlier.

According to the National Grid, at 1pm, wind supplied 9.5 gigawatts, nuclear provided 8.2GW and  solar 7.3GW. Gas provided 7.2GW and there was no coal power at the time. The graph above, from Aurora Energy Research shows a slightly different time and total.

The combination of renewables alone reached a new record of 18.7 gigawatts at the same time, equivalent to 50.7 per cent of demand, the National Grid said.

   

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  • Kevan Daly

    This time of year is a doddle for National Grid in the UK – they have a plethora of options. Yet you can see their strategy – they operate the nukes, their cheapest source, at a constant level just below minimum demand. They operate wind and solar to whatever extent is available and then use CCGT’s to balance the system. They also have the option of operating pumped hydro as a sink should wind + solar become excessive, although over the above 2 days it was only sourcing. If only we had some (fully depreciated) nukes in Australia ……

    • Bristolboy

      Agree – UK peak summer demand is about 10GW lower than peak winter demand.

      Also worth mentioning the UK has a “capacity market” which pays a subsidy to keep “dispatchable/realiable” nuclear, gas and coal as a backup. In the summer months there is a therefore a lot of idled/paused generating plant.

  • Bristolboy

    When it references coal and gas combined, note that it was in effect just gas as coal was generating 0MW across the UK.