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UK Electricity Generation Carbon Intensity Footprint

VanillaAir_UK

Supporting Member
Jun 17, 2019
7,139
4,662
Surrey, UK
We have threads about when best to charge for cheapest electricity, but few, if any, about when best to charge for least carbon intensity footprint.

So an article about retrospective generation over the recent Easter weekend to start things off


Going forward, carbon forecasts can be found at Carbon Intensity

As things stand today, if you can put of charging until tomorrow, it would be better.

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justinhow

Member
Feb 8, 2021
56
32
Dumfries, Scotland
I think when it comes down to green electricity the UK needs an overhaul. There is the problem of many "100% renewable electricity" providers not by any means using 100% renewable energy.
They achieve this by using REGOs (Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin) which are traded rather like carbon offsets are. There are very few (3 to my knowledge) UK providers who actually guarantee the electricity they provide comes from 100% renewable sources.
I am not preaching here. I use Octopus Energy who uses REGOs, so am guilty myself.
For more info on this subject see Green energy tariffs often 'misleading' and How green is your energy tariff? – Which? News
 

Rob R

Member
Oct 7, 2017
303
157
Dundee, Scotland
We have threads about when best to charge for cheapest electricity, but few, if any, about when best to charge for least carbon intensity footprint.

So an article about retrospective generation over the recent Easter weekend to start things off


Going forward, carbon forecasts can be found at Carbon Intensity

As things stand today, if you can put of charging until tomorrow, it would be better.

View attachment 651652View attachment 651653
It's good this. I am in Dundee, which is North Scotland, so my power is very green, often zero carbon, and almost always very low as they measure it. I get free power, as a resident (others pay, but not much). The shame is that not many locals, beyond the Council and taxis, buy EVs. It's the price of course, we are not a wealthy city by and large.
 

nufan

Member
Nov 6, 2019
104
90
UK
VanillaAir: nice site/thanks for the link. Good they provide the data as an API - you could imagine all sorts of integrations.

Justinhow: I fretted over the Octopus/Greenwash stuff recently as I wanted to join them. I have nothing to back it up - but I suspected the bad practice of buying dirty energy and using divorced-split off-independent REGOs to enable it to be declared as green applied to some of the Big Six or edge players.

Octopus are so invested in green behaviour declarations, to be found guilty of the same cynical stuff would be highly damaging (IIRC, in their defence, they state they buy on the ‘open market’ as their size prohibits doing what some of the smaller players do with a higher percentage use of PPAs).

I might have been being naive - but I came away trusting them, and thinking they probably bought the energy with REGOs directly-connected to the generation by an ‘intact’ link. I might be being naive there though (please chastise my stupidity if you know better anyone!).

Anyone know how the market works wrt this? I was thinking it was the grid’s job to balance demand/supply at any given instant (hence the varying CO2 loading, as renewables wax/wane) - and it was up to companies like Octopus to make sure, over some other retrospective timeframe (what?) that they balance their customers demand with contracted supply via the resultant marketplace....hence Octopus could actually be buying 100% green generation (even if Vanilla’s data shows we’re not consuming 100% renewable right now, mid-evening on a weekday without much wind).

Hoping that’s not just my wishful thinking to justify the Octopus switch.
 

Drew57

Member
Apr 4, 2020
840
941
Chester UK
Similar to @Dilly but generation & consumption on a smaller scale. We are now into the long period of the year where the house & car draw almost nothing from the grid, battery storage carries us through the nights & we manage to export around 20% (390kWh generated in March, 78kWh exported).
 
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Dilly

Active Member
Feb 24, 2020
1,436
1,065
Norfolk
One of the problems with trying to get us to ‘go green’ is that the UK simply doesn’t have the capacity to do it.
even in my little sphere of the world, our local grid is oversubscribed with green export. My DNO will only allow my 7Kw array to export and not my 3.9kw array. If I’m exporting they shut down.
the result is that on a really good day when I’m not using much, I could export just over 60Kwh per day to the grid but I’m limited to just over 40Kwh.
that’s probably because there several farms in my locality with multiple wind turbines and at least two big solar arrays.
if you extrapolate that across the across the country, there is probably a lot of untapped potential going to waste.
 
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roadcred

Member
Aug 23, 2019
167
79
UK
The DNOs and the local substation equipment are the real problem. My DNO will not allow export more than 3.4Kw which is a farce in 2021! I have a 7Kw system. However in March I produced 485kWh. Could have been more had my panels not shut down at the export limit.
 
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Yev000

Active Member
May 3, 2019
1,208
780
Knaphill
One of the problems with trying to get us to ‘go green’ is that the UK simply doesn’t have the capacity to do it.
even in my little sphere of the world, our local grid is oversubscribed with green export. My DNO will only allow my 7Kw array to export and not my 3.9kw array. If I’m exporting they shut down.
the result is that on a really good day when I’m not using much, I could export just over 60Kwh per day to the grid but I’m limited to just over 40Kwh.
that’s probably because there several farms in my locality with multiple wind turbines and at least two big solar arrays.
if you extrapolate that across the across the country, there is probably a lot of untapped potential going to waste.
Yep, lots of potential for battery storage. Tony Seba explains it quite well. There is an optimal point of how many batteries you need with wind/solar to make sure you have enough energy to last the winter.

I don't know how much that would be for a small rooftop array, but ~ 100-150 KWh should get you quite far (as long as you dont charge your car every day that is). Thats about a 10 day buffer, and during winter I'd guess you are putting in about a third of a summer day, maybe a bit less.

Still going to have a lot of excess in the summer of course.
 

Fred2

Member
Sep 12, 2019
42
40
Uk
There’s a push to move away from fossil fuels for heating too though - gas boiler deadline brought forward from 2025 to 2023 recently, with the main contender for replacement being heat pumps. That’s a lot of extra load that isn’t as easy to move around as charging your car - you probably don’t want to just switch off the heating for a day!
 

justinhow

Member
Feb 8, 2021
56
32
Dumfries, Scotland
I am not aware of this 2023 ban date (in the UK) - can you provide a gov link to this? Even the 2025 gas boiler ban is only for new builds.
Heat pumps will be expensive to install in new builds (in comparison) and very expensive to convert existing installs (£5,000 to £10,000 for the heat pump installation alone) and as I understand the radiators may well need to be larger because the water is not as hot (typically 40-50C). Also you may need a larger hot water tank for the same reason - because baths and showers may need to just use hot water rather than a mix of hot and cold as now.
I sound negative but actually I am all up for this change, but lets be clear, it is a massive problem to convert most of the existing housing stock.
 
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ACarneiro

Active Member
Jun 20, 2019
1,246
981
Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK
Ideally no radiators at all and use underfloor heating. That’s where pumps excel.
Can’t imagine that would add such a huge amount of cost to a new build once it becomes “the norm”, and the comfort is FAR better than a standard radiator arrangement.
The problem is builders. They’re dinosaurs and will resist the change in any way they can.
 

justinhow

Member
Feb 8, 2021
56
32
Dumfries, Scotland
Agreed underfloor makes sense for new builds, but just doing new builds will barely scratch the surface of the problem (climate change) though, and certainly not in the time frame required.
Not so sure of about not adding much cost - a heat pump installation and underfloor heating for a whole house is not trivial. I guess it depends on the cost of the house.
 
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Fred2

Member
Sep 12, 2019
42
40
Uk
Yes - new builds - sorry if that wasn’t clear & I got mixed up about the 2023 vs 2025 date - it was announced but then hastily unannounced

heat pumps are expensive refits - I had one installed recently, but with the subsidies I get back £9000 or so over 10 years so cost neutral if you can take the hit. Only ended up replacing one radiator in the end - the existing ones were oversized compared to the rooms which is apparently pretty common.
 

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