The impact of lockdown measures on demand, prices, balancing costs and emissions has provided a glimpse into how a future lower-carbon energy system might operate, according to a new report.
The latest quarterly Electric Insights report from Imperial College London said the “complete reworking of society” continued to have unprecedented impacts on the power system.
Lower electricity demand combined with exceptional weather propelled renewables to their greatest ever share of electricity during the last quarter. That also forced down prices, emissions and the need for nuclear and fossil fuels.
The spot-market value of Britain’s electricity halved over the last 12 months, as demand remained depressed and wholesale prices hit their lowest in a decade.
The report said Britain’s electricity over the last quarter was also the cleanest it has ever been. Carbon emissions were a third lower than this time last year, and the carbon intensity of electricity fell to an all-time low on the Spring Bank Holiday.
Dr Iain Staffell of Imperial College London, and lead author of the Electric Insights report produced for Drax, said:
“The past few months have given the country a glimpse into the future for our power system, with higher levels of renewable energy and lower demand making for a difficult balancing act.
“To help the country decarbonise further it is vital that flexible technologies which provide power and system stability play an increasing role in our grid.”