When we moved house a while ago we bought a bunch of new white goods — specifically a washing machine & dishwasher. We also signed up to a renewable energy supplier for our electricity.
These new appliances had a feature that allow you to have them start at a time in the future.
I also got an electric car, which is also able to be programmed to start charging at a specific time.
Tesla Model S P90D Ludicrous Review
Last year I was in the market for a new car. My then current ride, a BMW 120i M Sport was great and really fun to…
So, all this got me thinking…
- Where is the electricity actually coming from?
- If it’s all renewable electricity I’m buying then what happens when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing?
- Given I don’t really mind when in a 12–14hr period (overnight) my appliances run or my car charges when is the ‘most renewable’ time to do this?
So I built… https://electricityproduction.uk
The most interesting page, in my opinion, is the carbon intensity graph. Here you can see how much carbon dioxide is generated per unit of UK electricity — this is useful to plan when to use electricity, if you can shift when you consume it. Around 2am is usually best.
Some thoughts after running this site for a year…
This graph lets you see where the problem sources of UK electricity production pollution are. The red line is the ambitious 2030 target.
Wind, particularly offshore, seems to be the big opportunity for the UK as an island nation in Northern Europe.
The UK has some crazily impressive power plants. Dinorwig, a pumped storage facility in North Wales, stands out. Here’s Fully Charged covering it far better than I can.
I love that it’s used to restart other power stations (which ironically sometimes require power to start generating themselves), and that it’s the same turbines that to push the water back up the mountain that are used to generate electricity when it comes back down. Engineering at it’s finest — but most don’t even know it exists.
There are also some enormous (540MW in total, with it’s extensions) onshore wind farms like Whitelee in Scotland that look amazing photographed from the air. Also shown there is the London Array, the UK’s largest wind farm with 630MW capacity.
When mapped you can see how renewable and nuclear energy power plants have been built to utilise the UK’s landscape…
- Wind farms are all over, but generally north west and on hills
- Solar is mainly south
- Nuclear plants are on the coast, and strategically spread out the hell out
The UK electricity mix varies enormously by region. Some highlights…
- Scotland benefits from wind & hydroelectric plants
- South west has a lot of solar capacity per capita
- South east is connected to Netherlands and France via interconnects
I use Octopus Energy for my home gas and electricity supply. You can switch and get £50 credit over here. I get 50 quid too, which is nice.