Girl holding leaf blurred

Our commitment to delivering zero carbon operations by 2025 on Earth Day

The Earth is our most precious resource that we all need to protect, and to mark Earth Day, we’re restating our commitment to deliver a fully decarbonised electricity system.

Our commitment to delivering zero carbon operations by 2025 on Earth Day

The Earth is our most precious resource that we all need to protect, and to mark Earth Day, at the ESO we’re restating our commitment to deliver a fully decarbonised electricity system.

Our mission is to drive the transformation to a zero carbon electricity system by 2035 which is reliable, affordable, and fair for all. Through the work we do, we are now getting close to our ambition of delivering periods of 100% zero carbon operations by 2025, leading to a zero carbon electricity system by 2035. 

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere warms the planet, causing climate change. By operating a carbon free electricity system using renewables, we can drastically reduce the carbon impact of Great Britain’s electricity system.

We’re breaking records on our journey to decarbonisation 

As we get closer to delivering a fully decarbonised electricity system, we continue to break low carbon and renewable generation records. Some notable records from 2022 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

It didn’t take long for us to break another record in 2023. On 10 April we achieved a new low carbon intensity record of 33g/kWh thanks to high levels of wind and solar generation.

Our growing use of zero carbon electricity

In 2022 we used more zero carbon generation sources, with over 50% of electricity coming from these sources in February, May, October, November, and December. Zero carbon fuel sources provided 48.4% of electricity generation in 2022 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.

To see an overview of electricity generation stats from 2022 click here.                

How can we continue to decarbonise Great Britain’s electricity system? 

We are already working with industry on a range of innovative projects to deliver more carbon free electricity, some of which are detailed below.


Over recent years we’ve seen the electricity system transform from a smaller number of large fossil fuel generators to a diverse range of supplies, including renewable generation and storage. We identified that the connections process was outdated and not optimal for enabling a diverse range of renewable technologies to connect. As a result, we’re reforming the connections process to ensure we have adequate amounts of renewable generation on the system to deliver our ambition of a net zero electricity system. Learn about our commitment to improve the grid connections process here.

Holistic Network Design

The Pathway to 2030 Holistic Network Design (HND) is a major step for Great Britain in delivering cheap, clean energy from offshore wind. It sets out a single, integrated design that supports the large-scale delivery of electricity generated from offshore wind, taking power to where it's needed across Great Britain. The HND facilitates the connection of 23GW wind, helping to deliver the Government’s ambition for 50GW connected offshore wind by 2030. Compared to connecting wind farms individually, the recommended network design should save consumers £5.5bn in costs from 2030, reduce the impact on the seabed with up to a 30% smaller footprint from cables to shore and reduce CO2 emissions by 2 mega tonnes between 2030 and 2032 – equivalent to grounding all UK domestic flights for a year.

Find out more about our Holistic Network Design here.

Stability Pathfinders

Our Stability Pathfinders project aims to find ways to maintain system stability while using more renewable energy sources. All 12 zero carbon synchronous compensator units contracted under our first Stability Pathfinder are now operational, marking a significant step to reaching our 2025 zero-carbon operation ambition. These units are expected to deliver up to £128 million in consumer savings and reduce CO2 emissions by around six million tonnes over their lifetime. Read more about these projects here.

 As part of the third phase of stability pathfinders, we secured new contracts worth £1.3bn to provide network stability service without the use of carbon. These contracts represent a cost benefit of £14.9bn between 2025 and 2035 and represent a major milestone in delivering a low-carbon network for the future.

Demand Flexibility Service (DFS)

Our innovative Demand Flexibility Service, designed to shift electricity demand away from peak demand periods, has helped consumers and businesses reduce their carbon emissions. Last year we spoke to several businesses to learn how our Demand Flexibility service helped them realise their net-zero ambitions, with one provider projecting 200 tonnes of CO2 to be saved throughout DFS events via their clients.

Read our business case studies here.

Net Zero Market Reform

We’re leading discussions around how our markets need to change by 2050 through our net zero market reform programme, which holistically examines the changes to our electricity market design that will be required to achieve net zero.

These projects are just a handful of examples of how we are working towards delivering a zero carbon electricity system. Leading the way to providing clean energy throughout Great Britain is at the heart of our ambitions.

Follow our journey to zero carbon

We post a daily summary of generation stats on our Twitter page so we can transparently display how renewable energy contributes to our generation mix daily. Be sure to follow us to keep up to date.

Each month we also update our monthly generation stats and show how our generation mix compares to that of five years ago. To view a full list of our monthly insights, click here.