National Grid ESO - Accelerated Loss of Mains Change Programme - people walking though solar farm
Why are renewables vital to achieving net zero?

We know that Great Britain is aiming to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

But how can renewable energy sources help us get there?   

When we burn fossil fuels like coal and gas to help generate electricity, this releases carbon dioxide. As a greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide traps heat in the earth’s atmosphere, contributing to global warming.    

In contrast, renewable energy sources like solar and wind power don’t produce carbon emissions as part of the electricity generation process. Instead they harness the natural energy from the sun and the weather.    

As National Grid ESO moves towards a system which can operate at zero carbon by 2025, we want to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and use more renewable energy sources including: 

  • Solar   

  • Wind   

  • Hydropower   

We’re already well on our way to using more renewable energy sources in our electricity system. Our changing electricity mix shows how we’ve been moving in the right direction for a few decades.

We’re on the right track, and with continued success in bringing more renewables onto the grid, we can achieve our ambitions. 

As we move towards a net zero future, we should integrate more of these renewable sources onto the grid to replace higher-carbon sources like coal and gas, so that we can continue to provide affordable and sustainable electricity to consumers.  

The share of zero carbon power sources in Britain’s electricity mix has grown from less than 20% in 2010 (versus over 75% from fossil fuels) to almost 50% in 2020 (with carbon sources contributing only 35%).    

Zero carbon power outstripped fossil fuel for the first time across a year in 2019.  While wind met a quarter of our electricity demand in 2020, helping last year become the greenest on record.   

City glow lines with solar panels

How to achieve a zero carbon Britain

National Grid ESO moves electricity around Great Britain’s electricity system and it’s our job to make sure enough low carbon electricity is available when it’s needed.

Find out how you can help us get a step closer to a zero carbon Britain and transitioning our electricity system in our short video.

Achieving a zero carbon Britain