17th February 2020 | Posted by: Daniel Birkett | Industry News

The adoption of renewable energy sources and lower demand in the UK has resulted in the fastest rate of decarbonisation in the world over the last decade.

The UK has the fastest rate of decarbonisation in the world over the last decade according to analysis completed by academics from Imperial College London.

Research shows that emissions created by the power sector have decreased from 161 million tonnes in 2010, to 54 million metric tonnes in 2019 due to the growth of renewable generation sources and a fall in demand.

The Electric Insights Quarterly October to December 2019 report was compiled for Drax Electric Insights and shows that the drop was partly down to power generators moving away from coal and natural gas, in favour of renewable sources.

In addition to the production of clean electricity, the drop in emissions also coincided with a 13% reduction in power demand over the last 10 years. The drop in demand accounted for 1/3 of the sector’s fall in emissions, while wind generation accounted for 1/4.

Dr Iain Staffell of Imperial College London said: “Several factors made significant contributions to falling emissions including carbon prices, coal retirements, conversions to biomass and the growth in wind capacity. But reductions in electricity demand dwarfed all the others – helping to push down power prices and environmental impacts.”

Demand levels have dropped despite a 7% rise in population, with measures such as energy efficient lighting and more sustainable manufacturing helping to reduce consumption.

However, the report suggests that demand levels could rise with the growth of electric vehicles and heating. To help avoid a reversal of this kind, the study cites biomass as a possible solution which delivered a larger reduction in emissions than solar power over the last decade in relation to installed capacity.

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