Britain enjoys green energy boost with second best year

In 2022, zero-carbon electricity accounted for 48.5% of total produced

In November, more than 20GW of electricity came from wind for the first time, a record reached again in December. Getty
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The electricity produced in Britain in 2022 was close to the greenest it has ever been, second only to the Covid-influenced record of 2020 when demand was lower than usual, data shows.

Rising gas prices, with the war in Ukraine and Russia as a possibly unreliable supplier of energy, forced the UK to sign a deal that would keep two coal power plants as backup because the country could not get enough gas.

But still, zero-carbon energy sources were able to make up a much larger portion of the country’s electricity mix than fossil fuels.

Data from the National Grid operator showed that Britain in 2022 had the greenest day and month on record, and wind power also hit new highs.

“The use of coal in our day-to-day energy mix has continued to decline, with coal responsible for only 1.5 per cent of generation in 2022,” the operator said.

Coal use was a “significant reduction” since 2012, when it represented 43 per cent of electricity produced.

Over 2022, zero-carbon electricity accounted for 48.5 per cent of the total, compared to 40 per cent from gas and coal power.

Most of the green electricity came from wind turbines. In total, 26.8 per cent of Britain’s electricity came from wind, second only to gas, which produced 38.5 per cent of the total.

Nuclear power, a zero-carbon producer, was responsible for 15.5 per cent of production.

Biomass, which includes burning wood pellets in power plants, contributed 5.2 per cent, solar produced 4.4 per cent, while coal power plants produced 1.5 per cent of Britain’s electricity.

The rest came from electricity that was imported from Europe (5.5 per cent), hydropower (1.8 per cent), and storage (0.9 per cent).

For every unit of electricity produced in Britain last year, 182g of carbon equivalent was released into the atmosphere.

That is just one gram more than in 2020, but 2022 was not disrupted by lockdowns, grounded planes and industry furloughs.

February was the greenest month ever recorded, with 126g of carbon per unit of electricity. The greenest day was on December 28, with 52g of carbon.

In November, more than 20GW of electricity came from wind for the first time, a record beaten again in December.

Updated: January 06, 2023, 12:49 AM