National Grid ESO - summer outlook report 2020 - children with solar panel
Great Britain's monthly electricity stats

Ever wonder how much electricity is generated and used in Great Britain?

The arrival of Storm Arwen late in November helped wind power perform strongly again throughout the month – a month which saw zero carbon sources of generation meet almost half the country’s electricity demand.

While its average contribution to the mix (27%) is not as high as we saw in October (31.5%), we did see instant wind power readings that were among the highest we’ve ever seen, in terms of both output and proportion in the mix.

At 6.30pm on Saturday 6 November, wind generation hit 17.2GW, which is not far off the all-time record. The following evening the share of wind in the mix reached as high as 58.5%, with zero carbon sources of power contributing 82.3%.

While another new clean energy record would have been timely during the COP26 conference, figures like this are nevertheless an indication that Britain’s electricity system is getting closer to being ready to run carbon free.

This year to-date is still tracking close to 2020 in average carbon intensity terms, and while it’s possible come the new year that we may see a small uptick in average carbon intensity for 2021, the context is crucial: 2020 was an exceptional year of unusual circumstances, with low demands in lockdown and high zero carbon generation making like-for-like comparisons difficult.

What hasn’t changed is that our control engineers continue to work around the clock to manage the system and keep electricity flowing securely around the country as we move into the winter months.

For a more comprehensive view of electricity supply and demand over winter, read our 2021/22 Winter Outlook report.

Alongside these monthly insights, our new carbon intensity dashboard – launched this week – has even more data and insight into the electricity system and how it’s getting greener.

Isabelle Haigh, National Grid ESO

 

 

Isabelle Haigh

Head of National Control

 

 

 

 

What happened in October?

Find out about Great Britain's electricity generation and how much came from sources such as wind, solar and biomass in our monthly snapshot.

Our control room experts continue to balance supply and demand second by second as we move into the autumn months – and you can follow the electricity mix live in our carbon intensity app - available on Google Play Store and The App Store.