Thursday, June 13, 2019

How the UK Turned to Green Energy

Last month the UK went 18 days, six hours and 10 minutes without using any of its coal power plants. This is the longest period of time that the country's electricity grid has operated without coal power since 1882. The new record is a result of an incredible transformation of energy supply in the UK. In just one decade the country has reduced its reliance on fossil fuels so that it now gets over half of its power from renewable sources.

Carbon Brief has mapped out how the UK has overhauled its energy sector in just ten years. In How the UK Transformed its Electricity Supply in a Decade Carbon Brief has published a story map which visualizes the year-by-year evolution of renewable energy. In 2008 the British government passed a Climate Change Act that requires the country to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. Since 2008 the country has reduced its reliance on gas power by over 25% and almost completely eradicated its use of coal-fired power. According to Carbon Brief it now "gets more than half of its electricity from low-carbon sources".

As you progress through Climate Brief's story map you can see the percentage of power generated by different types of fuel for every year from 2008 to 2018 (keep an eye on the coal to see how it almost completely disappears). The map also shows the locations and sizes of the UK's power plants, colored by type. The text accompanying the map provides information on the government and civil action that has had an impact on the UK's power sources, helping to explain how the UK's impressive transformation has been achieved.

This week the UK government announced new legislation to cut UK carbon emissions to zero by 2050. Despite all the UK's efforts in moving towards renewable energy it still has a long way to go to reach a target of net-zero emissions by 2050.

No comments: