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REF releases new database

The Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) has published a new web application allowing users to view and analyse the fuel mix generating Great Britain’s electricity for every half hour since 1 January 2009.

The web application accesses public market data that has been formatted and aggregated to allow users to look at graph periods and technologies that are of particular interest.

It provides a uniquely usable interface for analysts and interested members of the public getting to grips with our electricity markets.

REF publishes this information as part of its on-going initiative to improve energy market transparency in the UK.

REF believes that much of the critical information about UK electricity is difficult or expensive to obtain, and that some of the most important, relating to charges made on the consumer, is simply not made public.

Today’s publication addresses part of this problem by improving the ease of access to historical data on the GB electricity fuel mix from 2009 to the present day.

As an example of the insights that can be gained, the application reveals two major trends over the last year:

  • GB is becoming increasingly dependent on coal to fuel the generation of electricity
  • GB is now importing a significant fraction of its electricity from France and from Holland

The company also said that dedicated biomass is becoming much more significant in the renewables sector, with a single biomass-fired power station, Tilbury, providing nearly 2 per cent of net generation on 9 September.

REF director of planning Dr Lee Moroney said: “Access to good basic data is important for healthy public debate on any subject, but in the energy sector it is absolutely essential, and our new web application gives the public a powerful tool to hold government and the energy industry to account.

“The increasing dependence on coal and the striking share of demand now met by imports from neighbouring countries is sobering, not least because it is happening in spite of rapid growth in renewable generation.”

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