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Coal On The Dole

Coal On The Dole
Sep 29
👤 by Brian Shillibeer

From 21 June to 22 September, almost 52% per cent of our electricity generation was met by low carbon sources, compared to around 35% four years ago.

This news comes as the National Grid launches new software that forecasts the carbon intensity of electricity generation up to two days ahead, helping people to understand and control their energy use.

National Grid is working with Environmental Defense Fund Europe and WWF to make the software openly available to the public.

WWF has used the data as the basis of an online tool which points users to the best times to turn on or turn off home appliances to minimise carbon emissions, while Environmental Defense Fund Europe are working on policy implications of having this data available and widely understood.

Shifting activities like dishwasher cycles or electric vehicle charges could help relieve pressure on the energy system, reduce the need to use back-up fossil fuel plants, and potentially reduce bills for households.

Duncan Burt, Director of the System Operator at National Grid, said: “We're providing our forecast data in a format that allows technology companies to build apps and software that could make a real difference to how and when people use energy. Clear and concise information that can tell you in advance when’s best to turn on the washing machine, load the dishwasher or charge your car for example, is a step in the right direction towards a low carbon future. This technology puts people at the heart of it, helping everyone to use power when it’s greenest, and likely, more cost efficient.”


No coal

Burt continued: “It’s been an exciting year managing the many ‘network firsts’ - from a day where we operated the system with zero coal power, to one where over half of Great Britain’s energy demand was met by renewable generation - and we’re just as excited to see what developments come off the back of making this data available for all.”



The programming software combines National Grid’s knowledge of the UK energy system with weather data from the Met Office to forecast the share of renewable and non-renewable energy that will be on the UK electricity grid over the next 48 hours and the resulting carbon emissions. National Grid’s data has been verified by experts from Oxford University.

Bryony Worthington, Executive Director, Environmental Defense Fund Europe, said: “This new forecasting tool empowers businesses and people with information they need to make cleaner energy choices. We are calling on those operating in the electricity market, including suppliers, manufacturers, aggregators, regulators and policymakers, to take advantage of this free-to-use tool to deliver smart, resilient infrastructure that cuts pollution, boosts renewables and unlocks costs savings for consumers. Pioneering practical tools that work for people, business and the environment here in the UK will serve as a model for other countries looking to meet bold climate and energy goals.”

Energy Minister, Richard Harrington said: “Through the Government’s Industrial Strategy we are delivering a record amount of renewable energy while boosting the economy and creating jobs up and down the country. With over half of Britain's electricity generated from low carbon sources, we've had a truly green summer and we welcome this new software. It has great potential to give consumers more control and is another step towards an energy system that's fit for the future.”

Picture: The National Grid has had a good summer of not relying on coal



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