UK now in world’s top 10 for clean energy

The UK has the seventh cleanest electricity generation in the world, according to a new league table.

The latest Electric Insights report revealed that the UK moved 13 places up the rankings to reach seventh spot.

Britain’s rise up the league table was the largest, while the Netherlands posted the biggest fall, dropping eight places.

The UK now only lags behind Norway, Sweden, France, Canada, Brazil and Venezuela, according to the report compiled by Imperial College London and power station operator Drax,

Success of carbon price

While France relies on nuclear power, the other five nations use large amounts of hydro-electric power, while the UK’s shift to low-carbon sources has been triggered by its carbon price.

Iain Staffell, a Lecturer in Sustainable Energy at the Centre for Environmental Policy in Imperial College London, said: “Since we started Electric Insights a year ago, we have seen a number of ‘firsts’ across the power sector and this quarter is no different – Britain has entered the world’s top ten low-carbon power league for the first time.

“Britain is reducing its carbon emissions from electricity faster than any other major country, and this has happened because the carbon price and lower gas prices have forced coal off the system – the amount of coal-fired power generation in Britain has fallen 80% between 2012 and 2016.

“In the Netherlands, coal-fired electricity output has risen 40% over the same period as generators only have to pay the much lower European carbon price.”

Pressure on Hammond to maintain carbon price in Budget

Andy Koss, Chief Executive at Drax, said: “The analysis by Dr Staffell and the team at Imperial College London shows quite clearly the impact Britain’s carbon price has had in terms of helping to ensure we produce cleaner power for the UK’s homes and businesses.

“It’s therefore vital that we maintain a meaningful carbon price when the Chancellor announces the Autumn Budget, if we are to meet our commitments on climate change.

“Without it we could see a reversal of the impressive results achieved so far – look at what’s happened elsewhere.”

> Read Drax's announcement