You may have picked up in the news that the on 21 April 2017 the UK achieved its first power generation coal-free day ever. This is an important milestone that points at a future where wind and solar power are taking larger share of the power generation mix.
If you are interested in seeing how the UK generates power at any given moment you can visit Drax Electric Insights (http://electricinsights.co.uk/#/dashboard?period=7-days&start=2017-05-01&&_k=n4n6fj) where you will be able to see the UK’s mix of sources to produce electricity. It is possible to track the data per hour, day, week or month. The website provides real-time data in GW or in percentage.
Take a look at the snapshot below. Just last week, nuclear power provided a relatively stable 20% of the mix, while solar oscillated between 0 and 15% depending on the time of day. Wind also showed tremendous variability, shifting between lows of 3-4% to as much as 30%.
Where does this leave the traditional sources such as gas and coal? Of course, gas power generation provided the buffer, shifting between 30 and 50% of the total. Coal, on the other hand, provided no more than 2-3% at any point. This was last week, but even if you go back one year coal’s highest contribution was 20% (last February) but most of the rest of the time it was within single-digits. Coal really is on the way out, at least in this country.
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