A rapid transition to renewable energy has helped Great Britain decarbonise faster than anywhere else in the world over the past decade, according to a report.
Between 2010 and 2019, carbon emissions fell from 161 million metric tonnes to just 54 million metric tonnes according to the report Imperial College London for Drax Electric Insights.
The Electric Insights Quarterly October to December 2019 report shows the fall in emissions was driven by a shift from coal to renewables coupled with a decline in electricity demand.
Output from renewables has grown every year, with output in 2019 being more than eight times higher than in 2010. The capacity of wind, solar, biomass and hydro has grown six-fold in that time, from 5.2 GW in 2010 to 38.5 GW in 2019.
Over the decade, demand for electricity fell by 13%, despite population growth of 7%. However, the pointed out that as electric vehicles and heat pumps are increasingly deployed in an effort to decarbonise, demand for electricity is likely to increase again.
Dr Iain Staffell of Imperial College London said the power system has transformed “at a speed never seen before."
“If this pace of change can be maintained, renewables could provide more than half Britain’s electricity by the end of this decade and the power system could be practically carbon free.”