The National Grid has announced a commitment to reduce its direct greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, the same timeframe as the UK Government’s legislative target. It has also pledged to drive the reduction of emissions that are outside of its direct control.
The organisation will deliver energy efficiency programmes to help domestic households reduce consumption and will incentivise its supply chain to reduce the carbon impact of construction projects. The operating firm for National Grid – National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) – has claimed that the emergence and integration of new technologies mean that a zero-carbon electricity grid by 2025 would be feasible. The ESO believes that new systems, products and services will be put in place over the next six years to support the transition to a decarbonised grid.
In 2018, ESO provided key services that enabled numerous firsts for the UK electricity system. Wind generation exceeded 15GW for the first time, for example, while the country also ran using no coal for 72 consecutive hours in 2018. The year also saw a record-breaking amount of new UK offshore wind capacity installed, while weekly and daily generation records were continuously smashed over a 12-month period.
The latest Government statistics revealed that the renewables share of generation reached 33% in 2018, an increase of 3.9% compared to 2017. Overall, low-carbon sources (renewables and nuclear) accounted for 52.8% of total generation in 2018.
National Grid’s net-zero target builds on an existing strategy to deliver a 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and an 80% reduction by 2050 for direct emissions from a 1990 baseline. The National Grid has recorded a 68% reduction to date. The new target recognises the need to assist government and business on the transition to net-zero and National Grid will work to reduce gas pipeline leakage and electrify its fleet to help reach the target.