Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

When Is Renewable Energy Not Renewable Energy? – When It’s Nuclear

Swansea tidal is a dog

Or rather, when is nuclear energy renewable energy and when isn’t it? The answer being when someone wants to big up the contribution if renewables to the country’s energy supplies nuclear is a renewable and when someone wants to discuss how to provide the country’s future energy supplies nuclear isn’t a renewable:

Zero-carbon energy outstrips fossil fuels in Britain across 2019
Rise in renewables and decline in coal-fired power leads to cleanest energy year on record


Zero-carbon energy became Britain’s largest electricity source in 2019, delivering nearly half the country’s power and outstripping fossil fuels for the first time.

Following a dramatic decline in coal-fired power and a rise in renewable and low-carbon energy, 2019 was the cleanest energy year on record for Britain, according to National Grid, which owns and operates the electricity transmission network in England and Wales, and also runs the Scottish networks.

National Grid’s latest data shows that wind farms, solar and nuclear energy, alongside energy imported by subsea cables, delivered 48.5% of Britain’s electricity in 2019. This compares to 43% generated by fossil fuels – coal, gas, and other carbon sources such as oil and diesel. The remaining 8.5% was generated by biomass, such as wood pellets.

When we want to show how far we’ve come nuclear is good. When we want to decide how far we should go nuclear is bad. Because these very same people who will be swooning over this zero carbon number will be exactly the same people who will shudder over the mere possibility of using nuclear electrons.

But then, you know, their being two-faced just gives us another pair of cheeks to slap them on.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

Also, please note that biomass is renewable but not zero-carbon. What we need, if we’re worried about global warming, is zero-carbon which is not the same as renewables.

Derrick J Byford
Derrick J Byford
1 year ago

Electricity generation is just a small part of total energy requirements. Very misleading to say that renewables are producing 48.5% of our ENERGY production!

Article from national grid
Wind solar hydro 26.5%
Hydro 2%

Wind & solar 24.5% electricity

UK energy 17.5% electricity

So wind and solar 4.3% of UK energy.…

John B
John B
1 year ago

And biomass emits ‘good’ CO2 which is not counted. But that CO2 still contributes to the greenhouse effect now, so it is not ‘clean’. ‘Zero carbon became Britain’s largest electricity source…’ So the National Grid is not counting the CO2 emissions coming from fossil fuel stations still running in backup but forced to disengage from the grid so wind and solar can connect… therefore those ‘zero carbon’ sources are not zero carbon at all, they have proxies emitting CO2 for them. And can only electrons from ‘zero carbon’ electricity transit the undersea cables? Climate Change Insanity has become normalised, even… Read more »

1 year ago
Reply to  John B

“So the National Grid is not counting the CO2 emissions coming from fossil fuel stations still running in backup but forced to disengage from the grid so wind and solar can connect… ”

No such thing at scale. Today’s fossil powerstations, largely Gas powered, spool up and down extremely quickly

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x