According the UK’s national grid electricity system operator, Britain will have a zero-carbon electricity system as soon as 2025.
The announcement comes alongside ESO’s legal separation from the country’s National Grid transmission arm, a move that is expected to allow the new system operator to shape a more flexible electricity system.
At present ESO relies on a mix of generation sources to balance the grid, but renewables are playing a prominent role.
Last year saw several records set – wind generation exceeded 15 GW, and the country experienced a 72 hour-period without coal-powered generation.
ESO hopes the move towards a carbon-free electricity system will require some revision of how the system’s model incorporates new products and services, through new markets.
ESO director Fintan Slye said: “Zero carbon operation of the electricity system by 2025 means a fundamental change to how our system was designed to operate; integrating newer technologies right across the system – from large-scale offshore wind to domestic scale solar panels – and increasing demand side participation, using new smart digital systems to manage and control the system in real time.
“We will identify the systems, services and products we will need to run a zero carbon network and design the new competitive marketplaces needed to source these as efficiently as possible, from both new and existing companies. We believe that promoting competition will ultimately lead to better value for consumers.”
“Operating a zero-carbon electricity system in 2025, whenever there is sufficient renewable generation, is a major stepping stone to full decarbonisation of the entire electricity system; enabling new technologies and removing barriers to ever increasing levels of renewables.”