|Fuel type||Current Power||CO2 emissions|
|Combined Cycle Gas Turbine||19,800 MW 54.3 %||2,020 kg/S|
|Open Cycle Gas Turbine||0 MW 0.0 %||0 kg/S|
|Oil||0 MW 0.0 %||0 kg/S|
|Coal||5,669 MW 15.5 %||1,540 kg/S|
|Nuclear||7,537 MW 20.7 %||0 kg/S|
|Wind||611 MW 1.7 %||0 kg/S|
|Pumped Storage Hydro||339 MW 0.9 %||0 kg/S|
|Non Pumped Storage Hydro||504 MW 1.4 %||0 kg/S|
|Other||1,505 MW 4.1 %||unknown|
|Interconnect - France||499 MW 1.4 %||unknown|
|Interconnect - Ireland (Moyle)||0 MW 0.0 %||unknown|
|Interconnect - Netherlands||0 MW 0.0 %||unknown|
|Interconnect - Ireland (East-West)||14 MW 0.0 %||unknown|
|Total||36,478 MW 100.0 %||
0.351 kg per kWh
Electricity in the UK is generated from:
Large power stations can be categorised by which fuel they use to generate electricity, as shown in the table above.
Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT): A CCGT power plant uses two seperate generation processes: (a) A gas turbine powered by natural gas is directly connected to an electrical generator; and (b) The hot waste gases from the gas turbine are used to generate steam to power a second electrical generator. By combining these two processes in a single power plant the efficiency of the conversion of chemical energy (in the fuel) to electrical energy can be increase to almost 60%, albeit at a modest increase in complexity and cost. All recent gas-powered power stations will be CCGT, rather than Open Cycle Gas Turbine (OCGT). Although a CCGT power plant is the most efficient design of fossil-fuel power station that exists, they still emit large quantities of carbon dioxide, adding to the effects of climate change.
Open Cycle Gas Turbine (OCGT): An OCGT power station is one of the simplest and cheapest power plants, powered by natural gas, with a gas turbine connected to an electrical generater. However, the waste gases from the gas turbine hold a considerable amount of heat energy that is thrown away, unlike in a CCGT power plant. This waste of energy causes an OCGT to be inefficient. There are very few OCGT power stations in the UK. Almost all gas powered plants are now the more efficient CCGT design. As natural gas is a fossil fuel, an OCGT power plant emits large quantites of carbon dioxide, adding to the effects of climate change.
Oil: Oil power stations burn fuel refined from crude oil. In the UK there are very few purely oil-fired power stations, but there are a number of duel-fired power stations; these are capable of burning oil and coal, or oil and gas.
Coal: Coal power stations burn coal to boil water, producing steam which drives a steam turbine which is connected to an electrical generator. These are the least efficient and most polluting of all types of power station in the UK and produce the most CO2 (and other pollutants) per unit of electricity of all fuels.
Nuclear: Nuclear power stations generate electricity from heat generated from nuclear fission. This generated no immediate atmospheric pollution, including generating no CO2; however it does generate radioactive waste that is dangerous over periods of 100 to 10,000 years, depending on the type of nuclear power station that generated them and what reprocessing has been performed.
Wind: Wind power is a CO2-free power source which generates no atmospheric pollution at all during operation.
Pumped Storage Hydro: Pumped-storage is used for storing electricity, and it is the only currently viable method of storing useful amounts of electricity for use on the nation electricity grid. Water is pumped from a lower reservoir to a higher reservoir during periods of low national electricity demand, and then released to drive power-generating turbines from the high reservoir during times or high or rapidly rising electrical demand.
Non Pumped Storage Hydro: Hydro-electricity is a CO2-free power source which generates no atmospheric pollution at all during operation.
Interconnects: The UK national grid has four interconnects which allow importing and exporting electricity internationally. These are used when UK electricity demand is significantly different to the demand of the connected country; or when the current price of electricity in each country makes it beneficial to trade electricity.
Burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) produces CO2 (Carbon Dioxide). The quantity of fossil fuels used needs to be reduced for many reasons:
Notice that electricity generation in the UK produces between four and seven tonnes of CO2 every second (depending on the time of day). This is approximately 200 million tonnes of CO2 every year.
This is a lot.
This data updates every 5 minutes.