Fossil fuels to fall behind renewables in UK’s electricity mix

The UK’s power system operator has confidently predicted that zero-carbon energy sources will overtake fossil fuels to become the country’s largest electricity source in 2019, despite being only six months into the year.

National Grid made the prediction after the UK’s greenest ever winter and a record number of coal-free days since then. The UK went 18 days without generating coal-fired electricity up to June 4.

Coal-fired power has been in rapid decline over the last decade, moving from providing almost a third of the UK’s electricity to just 3% in the first half of this year.

Meanwhile, renewable energy has moved in the opposite direction to coal, rising from just 2% of the UK’s electricity to a fifth in the same 10-year period.

National Grid hailed this year as a ‘landmark tipping point’ and a ‘historic achievement’ towards the UK’s goal of becoming a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.

John Pettigrew, National Grid’s chief executive, said: “The incredible progress that Britain has made in the past 10 years means we can now say 2019 will be the year zero-carbon power beats fossil fuel-fired generation for the first time.”

“We wouldn’t have said it if we weren’t confident that this will be the year.”