Fuel for UK Electricity

(The Carbon Intensities come from the IPCC 2018 report annex iii page 7 and the IPCC 2018 report annex ii page 26)

Tracking some electricity sources in Real Time

For generation sources right now try MyGrid GB’s infograph here.

Or Grid Watch here.

For wind generation try Winderful here.

For Solar generation today, last week, last year etc try here.

Pathway to more electricity and very low carbon electricity

UK electricity generation must increase threefold from 2020 to 2050 to provide for the move away from gas for heating and oil for transport. The CCC report shows the estimated increased volume by 2050.

So clearly coal, and then gas, must be phased out and replaced with the low carbon renewable sources. The CCC targets across this period in the CCC’s Climate Change’s Sector on Electricity December 2020 are:

• Ave 220 gCO2/kWh in 2019

50 gCO2/kWh in 2030

• 10 gCO2/kWh in 2035

• 2 gCO2/kWh in 2050.

High Carbon Fuels - to go soonest

Low Carbon Fuels - the good guys to be ramped up

Electricity from the Sea – Tides and Waves.

Minesto’s Tidal Kite in Faroe Islands

A coalition of 25 ocean-faring nations, called Ocean Energy Systems says that “By 2050, ocean energy has the potential to have deployed over 300 GW of installed capacity.” And that “By 2050, ocean energy has the potential to have created 680,000 direct jobs and saved 500 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.” Ocean Energy encompasses tides, waves, ‘salinity gradient’ and ‘ocean thermal energy’ technologies.

However, the Committee on Climate Change Nov 2020’s Sector Summary for Electricity Generation (p28) is not optimistic about tapping into that potential from the UK “Technologies such as tidal and wave that have not been commercialised at large scale could provide predictable power to a variable renewables-driven system. However, costs would need to decrease substantially to be competitive against other technologies.“  The Ocean Energy Cost Assessment agrees, whilst suggesting they may become viable “tidal and wave needs to demonstrate further cost reductions.”

Regardless – Wales and Scotland have optimistic companies working with both Tides and Waves. Ocean Energy describes UK activities. In Scotland, for instance, the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) Ltd  “is the first and only centre of its kind in the world to provide developers of both wave and tidal energy converters – technologies that generate electricity by harnessing the power of waves and tidal streams – with purpose-built, accredited open-sea testing facilities.” and ORE Catapult claims to be “The UK’s leading technology innovation and research centre for offshore renewable energy.”

The Tide and Wave stripes below have more on ongoing trials,  projects and costs.

Necessary Evils?

Discussion of issues in getting continuous supply of low carbon electricity