Zero Carbon Electricity Outstrips Fossil Fuels in the UK for 2019

2019 was the cleanest year on record for the UK as, for the first time, the amount of zero-carbon power outstripped that from fossil fuels for a full year

2019 was the cleanest year on record for the United Kingdom (UK) as, for the first time, the amount of zero-carbon power outstripped that from fossil fuels for a full twelve months, data released by the National Grid shows.

This historic milestone comes as we enter the mid-point between 1990 and 2050 – the year in which the UK has committed to achieving at least a 100 percent reduction in emissions based on 1990 levels. 

Data released by National Grid shows a combination of wind farms, solar and nuclear energy, alongside energy imported by subsea inter-connectors, delivered 48.5 percent of Britain’s electricity in 2019 compared to 43 percent generated by fossil fuels. The remaining 8.5 percent was generated by biomass. 

uk energy distribution 2019

National Grid CEO John Pettigrew said: “As we enter a new decade, this truly is a historic moment and an opportunity to reflect on how much has been achieved. 

“At National Grid, we know we have a critical role in the acceleration towards a cleaner future and are committed to playing our part in delivering a safe and secure energy system that works for all.” 

In December, National Grid set out plans to invest almost GBP 10 billion in the United Kingdom’s gas and electricity networks over five years, of which almost GBP 1 billion has been ear-marked to enable the transition to Net Zero electricity sources including investments in new equipment and technology to help the electricity system operator (ESO) to operate a Net Zero carbon electricity system by 2025. GBP 85 million has been allocated to support the decarbonisation of heat within the gas transmission network. 

In October 2019, a new analysis by Carbon Brief has revealed that renewable energy sources like wind farms, solar panels, biomass and hydro plants generated more electricity than the combined output from power stations fired by coal, oil and gas for the entire third quarter in the UK, for the very first time.

During the three months of July, August and September, renewables generated an estimated total of 29.5 terawatt-hours (TWh), compared with just 29.1 TWh from fossil fuels, the analysis shows.


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Ayush Verma

Ayush Verma

Ayush is a correspondent at and writes on renewable energy and sustainability. As an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he also works as a staff writer for

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