National grid ESO state that by 2025 they will have transformed the operation of the electricity system to enable periods of 100% zero carbon electricity.
A report provided by ESO states they plan to bring in the age of zero carbon electricity periods by 2025 and beyond.
As it stands conventional power plants provide stability to the grid using systems such as synchronous generation (SG)
“SG supports the stability of the system, but SG capacity is decreasing as we transition to a zero-carbon future”
Overall, this means that sources of energy including gas will need to be kept online even if all the energy demand could be met with zero carbon generators
In 2019, zero carbon power reached 85% providing enough inertia to keep the grid stable. In 2020 there was potential for close to 100% zero carbon electricity. The national grid control room replaced some wind and hydro power with gas and biomass to provide enough inertia to stabilise the grid.
A system without inertia can lead to instability in the system and in some cases cause blackouts
As Britain’s grid is transforming, the coal share of electricity generation has fallen to 1.6% in 2020 from 25% in 2015.
Executive Director Fintan Slye at the national Grid ESO has stated:
“We’re confident that by 2025 we will have periods of 100% zero-carbon electricity, with no fossil fuels used to generate power in Great Britain.”
“The growth in renewable sources of power, with record levels of wind and solar, means there will be enough zero-carbon generation to meet demand.”
“A key challenge is ensuring the electricity system is ready to accommodate that power.”
“Our engineers are deploying innovative, world-first approaches to transform how the power system operates, such as removing the need to draw on fossil fuel-based generation for critical stabilising properties.”