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The planet is only going to get greener

Jordan O'Brien

Jordan O'Brien

Contributing Editor
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Kermit the Frog Green

Kermit the Frog may need to reword his catchphrase, as these days it’s easy being green. 

According to National Grid ESO, Easter Monday saw the country’s electrical grid hit its lowest carbon intensity since records began, largely thanks to a glut of renewables on the system. In fact, carbon intensity dropped to as low as 39gCO2/kWh at 1pm on Monday. 

This is the same Easter Monday that saw snow fall across much of the country, but despite the wintry showers, the blustery weather coupled with sunshine helped push renewables to meet most of the UK’s energy demand. 

At 1pm on Monday, wind power accounted for 39% of energy generation, while solar and nuclear accounted for 21% and 16%, respectively. That meant that carbon-free energy sources made up almost 80% of the country’s entire electricity mix, helping reduce the carbon intensity of the grid to new lows. 

Of course, part of the reason behind the sudden decline in carbon intensity on Easter Monday was due to lower demand. Large retailers are forced to close their stores in England and Wales, while due to a nationwide lockdown there isn’t much else going on that could cause a spike in demand. 

Despite that lower demand, the new record of 39gCO2/kWh smashed the previous record, which was set on May 24, 2020. That was when carbon intensity hit 46gCO2/kWh, which is why National Grid ESO is describing the latest drop as “astonishing.” 

Of course, as astonishing as it may be, it’s unlikely that Easter Monday will hold onto the record for very long. New renewables are coming on stream all the time, and as they come online, they can carry an ever-increasing electrical load. National Grid ESO has set a target for the UK’s electricity grid to be carbon free by 2025, so hopefully in just four short years, the record we’ll be celebrating is the grid hitting 0gCO2/kWh. Of course, it may not be National Grid ESO in charge at that point, but you’ll have to listen to the Powered On podcast to learn more about that – the first episode is out now.

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