COP26 Update: New Green Record for GB Electricity Grid, Clean Power Developments in the Humber Region and British Army Solar PV installations

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As COP26 approaches, Brevia will be tracking the latest milestones in the UK’s preparations for the upcoming climate conference. This week’s developments include a new green record for the GB electricity grid, ‘Clean Power Hub’ developments in the Humber, as well as the construction of a new 2.3MW solar array at the British Army’s Defence School of Transport.

1. GB RECORDS GREENEST GRID DAY

Great Britain’s electricity system recorded a new record for green power this Easter Monday, with the carbon intensity on the grid dropping to 39g of CO2 for every kilowatt-hour of electricity. This surpassed the previous record of 46g of CO2 recorded on the 24 May last year. [1]

Lower than average demand for electricity over the Easter holiday, combined with bank holiday sunshine and high wind output, meant that wind and solar power provided 60 per cent of all electricity. Nuclear plants provided 16 per cent of the electricity mix, taking the total low carbon generation to 80 per cent of the electricity on the grid. [2]

Whilst data from the ESO showed that demand for electricity remained 5 per cent lower than usual, the new record is still an impressive achievement for the country as the energy system continues to move away from fossil fuel reliance.

2. SSE AND EQUINOR TO PARTNER ON CCS AND HYDROGEN

SSE Thermal and Equinor have unveiled a new partnership to develop two low carbon power stations in the Humber region. The projects include plans for a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) power station, Keadby 3, and a hydrogen power station, Keadby Hydrogen. [3]

The two clean energy power stations would form a ‘clean power hub’ and would replace the fossil fuel based generation on the grid by providing flexible and firm power to support the UK’s renewable generation. Keadby 3 could deliver 15 per cent of the UK’s target of 10 million tonnes of carbon capture from gas generation, whilst Keadby Hydrogen is expected to account for a third of the Government’s 5GW hydrogen production target.

The projects are still in the development stages, with final investment decisions depending on the support and policy framework agreed upon. The project is expected to make use of  the hydrogen and CO2 pipeline infrastructure being developed by the Zero Carbon Humber partnership, as well as offshore CO2 infrastructure developed by the Northern Endurance Partnership.

3. BRITISH ARMY TO INSTALL SOLAR FLEET

The British Army has announced that it will install its first photovoltaic solar farm at the British Army’s Defence School of Transport (DST) in Leconfield.[4]

Construction of the 2.3MW solar array started earlier this year and is being delivered with support from Centrica Business Solutions. It is expected that the electricity generated will meet a third of the DST’s electricity needs. [5]

The solar array is the first of four pilot sites delivered as part of the Ministry of Defence’s initiative to increase renewable energy across the defence estate and help deliver the 2050 net zero target. Together, the four pilot sites will result in £1-million in efficiency savings and reduce emissions by 2,000 tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) per year.[6]

The three further pilots at Duke of Gloucester Barracks, South Cerney, Gloucestershire; Rock Barracks, Suffolk; and Baker Barracks on Thorney Island, Sussex are scheduled for delivery by Summer 2021.

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Notes

[1] National Grid ESO, ‘Easter Monday sees record low carbon intensity for GB electricity’, 6 April 2021, link

[2] The Guardian, Jillian Ambrose, ‘Great Britain’s electricity system has greenest day ever over Easter’, 6 April 2021, link

[3] SSE, ‘Plans for first-of-a-kind hydrogen and CCS projects’, 8 April 2021, link

[4] Ministry of Defense, ‘Army’s Solar Farms support commitment to Sustainability’, 7 April 2021, link

[5] Centrica, ‘Centrica supports Army with first solar farm’, 7 April 2021’, link

[6] Business Green, Cecilia Keating, ‘’Project Prometheus’: British Army plots solar energy drive as it confirms 2050 net zero goal’, 9 April 2021, link

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