Britain's Electricity Explained: 2022 Review
6 Jan 2023 - 2 minute read
With another year over, the ESO looks back at how electricity was generated and used across 2022, and some of the notable events seen through the year.
How we generated electricity in Great Britain in 2022
We’ve seen a number of records broken across the year as various conditions aligned to deliver new firsts in wind generation and total zero carbon generation.
Notable records include:
- The first time wind generation provided over 20GW of electricity
- The lowest carbon intensity month since records began (February 2022 - 126 gCO2/kWh average)
- Greenest day on record (52 gCO2/kWh on 28 December)
- Second greenest year on record, second only to 2020
Below we’ve set out how electricity has been used over the year.
2022’s Electricity Generation Mix
This chart shows the total generation by source and comes from Great Britain's monthly electricity stats, which we produce.
Over the last 12 months gas has continued to play an important role in providing most of the electricity used across Great Britain, but there have been significant changes across other technologies over 2022.
Electricity from wind turbines has continued to grow in its importance to the operation of the national network. In November 2022, more than 20GW of electricity was produced by wind for the first time, representing over 70% of electricity generated on that day. Since then, this record has continued to tumble, with 30 December delivering the largest generation to date of 20.918GW.
Our growing use of zero carbon electricity
Across 2022 we’ve seen zero carbon electricity sources play an increasing role in delivering electricity, with over 50% of electricity coming from these sources in February, May, October, November and December.
Zero carbon sources continued to outperform traditional fossil fuel generation over the last 12 months by providing 48.5% of the electricity used this year, compared to 40% from gas and coal power stations.
The use of coal in our day-to-day energy mix has continued to decline, with coal responsible for only 1.5% of generation in 2022, illustrating the significant reduction that has taken place over the last ten years, when coal represented 43% of electricity produced in 2012.
Managing electricity demand across the year
Finally, electricity demand has also fluctuated this year, showing the variation in electricity needs that are seen across the year, with electricity demand remaining at its lowest during the summer months, as longer, brighter days reduce the need to light or heat our homes.