The UK National Grid is decarbonising rapidly
As electricity generation from coal is being phased out and wind generation increases the carbon intensity of the Grid is falling steadily each year. This is good news for those who can see that the decarbonisation of heat is greatly helped by the decarbonisation of the Grid and ultimately the Electrification of Heat.
Using DEFRA data, the carbon factor of grid electricity was 495 gCO2/kWh generated in 2014.
In 2015, the equivalent figure was 462, which represents a fall of over 6.5%.
In 2016, the figure was 412, a fall of 10.8%.
For 2017 the figure fell to about 260 gCO2/kWh, a further fall of 37% (DEFRA has yet to confirm its estimate).
GSHPA's Carbon Calculator for GSHPs
Whenever the current grid carbon factor is below 215 grams of CO2 per KWh then even direct electric heating emits less carbon from the grid than a gas boiler does on site!
This app uses current grid carbon intensity – updated every half hour – and illustrates how much lower carbon emissions are now from ground source energy than from burning fossil fuels for other heating systems.
The CO2 issued by a heat pump powered from green electricity is, of course, zero. This CO2 emissions calculator, sponsored by Geoscience, shows the CO2 issued if your ground source heat pump uses grid electricity.
The values for ground source heat pumps using grid electricity have fallen rapidly as grid electricity generation from coal has fallen, and generation from renewable power technologies has risen. The webpage fits well on the screen of most smartphones.
For those with access to a PC, the GridWatch website tracks the source of electricity generation on the UK National Grid and displays it graphically – with updates every five minutes. Expand your window to a wide screen and hover over the guages for useful further information.
Take a look also at the GridWatch Carbon data for France where you will sometimes see that France generates more than 100% of its needs from carbon free sources, and exports the surplus to other nations through "interconnects".