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Cleaning up the heating sector

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The continued investment in renewable energy and reduced reliance on coal fired power stations means Britain’s electric heating is now cleaner than gas central heating, government figures show

It is the latest milestone in the UK’s effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions in line with EU obligations, which includes phasing out unabated coal by 2025.

Earlier this year, Britain went for more than three days without generating electricity from coal, the longest period since the 1880s. National Grid says 2017 was officially the greenest on record, as Britain has halved carbon emissions in the electricity sector since 2012.

However, a report from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) shows the government widely underestimated the contribution of renewable energy in its projections, which means the UK’s electricity supply between 2014 and 2017 used far less carbon than predicted.

As a result, since 2017 electric heating has had a lower ‘Grid Carbon Factor’ than gas central heating for the first time, with the gap set to widen further in 2018 and beyond. The Grid Carbon Factor represents the amount of CO2 equivalent emitted in grams for each kWhr of energy generated on the National Grid.


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