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This year Britain has had an exceptional year for renewable electricity production. It has broken 13 different renewable energy records, putting 2017 on track to be the greenest year ever for clean, electricity production. WWF predicts that 2018 will be even greener and will usher in a new era of low carbon electricity.

These records are across the clean electricity sector. Highlights of 2017 included the greenest summer ever, as well the first full day since the Industrial Revolution where there was no coal power, record breaking level of green power and the plummeting costs of off-shore wind.

National Grid, who are working with WWF on forecasting the carbon intensity of electricity have verified these records.

Gareth Redmond-King our Head of Energy and Climate Change, said:

“2017 has been an amazing year for renewable electricity in Britain; we have never been cleaner or greener - and we are on course for an even better year in 2018. Climate change is wreaking havoc on our nature and wildlife, but we are at last facing up to the challenge, turning our backs on polluting fossil fuels and embracing a new clean future. But we need to show more ambition by bringing forward the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars to 2030.”

Since 2012, Britain has halved carbon emissions in the electricity sector making the power system the 4th cleanest in Europe and the 7th cleanest in the world. Meanwhile public support for renewable electricity production has hit record highs, with 82% of the UK public supporting green energy.

However, a lot more needs to be done to reduce our carbon emissions and tackle climate change. The UK is behind schedule to meet the 4th or 5th Carbon Budgets and there are no clear plans on how we are going to make up this shortfall.

2018 is the year of opportunity for clean energy, and is set to be even greener, but it must be backed up with Government action. Greater support needs to be given to renewable energy, to decarbonise our heat and make our buildings use less energy. On top of this greater ambition is needed to support electric vehicles by ending the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030. This will cut our carbon emissions, clean up our air and bolster the UK economy.

Duncan Burt, Director of the System Operator at National Grid said:

"It’s been an exciting year managing the many ‘network firsts’ - from a day where we operated the system with zero coal power, to one where over half of Great Britain’s energy demand was met by renewable generation."

The full list of broken records in Britain for 2017 includes:

Low carbon generation

  • First 24 hour period without coal generation since the Industrial Revolution – 21 April
  • Longest period without coal generation (40 hours 35 minutes) – 28-29 October
  • Greenest summer ever, with almost 52% of our electricity generation from low carbon sources – 21 June to 22 September
  • The lowest amount of carbon produced by electricity production at any one moment (73 gCO2/kWh) – 2 October 
  • The largest amount of  electricity produced from renewable sources at any one moment (19.2 GW) –21 March

First time ever wind, nuclear and solar were all generating more than both gas and coal combined – 7 June

Solar

  • Most electricity production from solar power at any one moment (8.9 GW), a quarter of Britain’s electricity supply – 26 May
  • Highest percentage of solar produced relative to national demand (26.8%) – 2 July

Wind

  • Most wind power produced in a day (285GWh)– 7 December
  • Most offshore wind generation at any one moment (4.3 GW) – 1 October
  • Most electricity production from all wind generation at any one moment (12.4 GW) – 6 December

Hydro

  • Most electricity production from hydropower at any one moment (4 GW) – 27 February

Cost

  • Record low strike price at the second Contracts for Difference subsidy auction of £57.50/MWh, well below Government guarantee for Hinkley C – 11 September

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