The blades of the Batworthy Cross wind farm were still in yesterday's evening sunlight. This made me think about how much energy has been produced in the UK in the last few days. Energy Dashboard shows UK energy production from many sources, including the University of Sheffield's PV_Live data. MyGridGB shows the carbon cost of each 1kW of the UK's energy.


Energy Dashboard was developed to provide real time and historical information on UK energy topics, with an emphasis on clearly accessible facts and figures. Initially the site centres on electricity generation in Great Britain (GB), but later updates will include sections on heat generation, renewable energy, carbon emissions and transport. Energy data is constantly changing and often difficult to obtain and decipher, the plan is for Energy Dashboard to become an easy-to-use resource for anyone needing informative facts and analysis on UK energy issues.

This early version of the site provides information on electricity generation and highlights the growing contribution of 'embedded' generation - smaller solar and wind energy plants which are not metered at the transmission level, instead connecting into local distribution grids. As the UK moves towards more renewable sources of generation this provides an increasingly complex problem for National Grid, who are required to balance supply and demand. The 'embedded' or 'distributed' electricity shows as a drop in demand and data on embedded generation is limited, and mostly protected under personal data regulation. National Grid therefore relies on estimated figures from sources such as Sheffield University. With embedded electricity providing up to 10GW at peak demand times, it is becoming harder to assess how much capacity is required to meet peak demands (especially in winter), and whether the underlying peak demand (at the level of final consumption) has been going up or down in recent years. 


MyGridGB The way that electricity is being generated in Great Britain changes every minute of every day. Our power must respond to changing weather and to every flick of a switch on cold winter nights and long summer days. Power stations themselves are changing, with reducing numbers of coal power stations, new nuclear plants and growth in gas, wind, solar and biomass.

MyGridGB charts all of this change. It provides analysis of the volumes of electricity being produced and consumed, and where that electricity comes from. It shows this in real time as well as using historical data. It uses data from Sheffield University and Elexon, the company responsible for managing the electricity and trading arrangements of England and Wales. Blogs by myself and guest authors also provide the latest insights.

The analysis is not limited to the volumes of electricity. MyGridGB also charts carbon emissions from electricity – of critical importance for a country with carbon reduction targets.

The “Manifesto for a Low Carbon Electricity Supply” shows an alternative. This alternative is a simulation of a different mix of power stations and energy which would meet our carbon objectives. The manifesto is simulated in real time on the website. 


The Sheffield Solar research group was formed in 2010 in the Physics & Astronomy department, at the University of Sheffield, as part of the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures. It works to bridge the gap between the research lab and how solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is used in the real world and to understand its performance and impact. The PV_Live website and API went public in 2016, providing near-real-time and historic national PV outturn estimates and becoming the de facto GB PV outturn data for the GB energy industry.


My World in Data Why did renewables become so cheap so fast? And what can we do to use this global opportunity for green growth?

For the world to transition to low-carbon electricity, energy from these sources needs to be cheaper than electricity from fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels dominate the global power supply because until very recently electricity from fossil fuels was far cheaper than electricity from renewables. This has dramatically changed within the last decade. In most places in the world power from new renewables is now cheaper than power from new fossil fuels.

The fundamental driver of this change is that renewable energy technologies follow learning curves, which means that with each doubling of the cumulative installed capacity their price declines by the same fraction. The price of electricity from fossil fuel sources however does not follow learning curves so that we should expect that the price difference between expensive fossil fuels and cheap renewables will become even larger in the future.

This is an argument for large investments into scaling up renewable technologies now. Increasing installed capacity has the extremely important positive consequence that it drives down the price and thereby makes renewable energy sources more attractive, earlier. In the coming years most of the additional demand for new electricity will come from low- and middle-income countries; we have the opportunity now to ensure that much of the new power supply will be provided by low-carbon sources.

Falling energy prices also mean that the real income of people rises. Investments to scale up energy production with cheap electric power from renewable sources are therefore not only an opportunity to reduce emissions, but also to achieve more economic growth – particularly for the poorest places in the world. 


The interim Devon Carbon Plan says that: In 2018, 62% of Devon’s Greenhouse Gas emissions related to energy use in the form of electricity and fossil fuel in buildings, manufacturing and construction activity, and transport. The evidence provided at the Thematic Hearings indicated that four key transformations are needed to decarbonise the energy we all use:

  1. Use less energy. We need to reduce demand for energy and use what we really need as efficiently as possible
  2. Transition to renewables. The energy we do use needs to be from renewable sources (e.g. wind, solar, biofuel)
  3. Flexibility and storage. We need to be able to store electricity and use it more flexibly.
  4. Carbon Capture and storage. Where small amounts of Fossil Fuels continue to be used, the carbon emitted needs to be captured and permanently stored to prevent it from reaching the atmosphere. 


Community Energy projects in Devon are providing ways to generate electricity at a local scale with profits ploughed back into communities.

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