Electricity was cheaper and cleaner during lockdown: During the coronavirus lockdown the UK’s electricity system was cheaper and cleaner but harder to control.

A new independent analysis has found that was conducted for Drax Electric Insights via Imperial Consultants by academics from Imperial College London.

Lowered demand was caused by businesses closing and people working from home, the report states – in combination with “exceptional weather” which pushed renewable generation to new heights, peaking at a 69.5% clean share of the energy mix.

Nuclear and fossil fuel-based generation were heavily reduced induced by the surge in renewables, causing carbon emissions to drop to record levels and prices to also drop to record levels – however, the report notes this low-demand combined with high-supply from intermittent generation, meant a record amount of money was spent on keeping the system stable for the period between April and June.

Dr Iain Staffell of Imperial College London 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 make 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.”

Drax Group’s UK Portfolio Generation Director, Mike Maudsley said: “It has been a challenging time for everyone in the country and for our power system. The last few months have underlined the importance of flexible, low carbon technologies to enable the UK’s power system to evolve and provide the secure and sustainable electricity supplies a zero carbon economy needs.”

Electricity was cheaper and cleaner during lockdown

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