At E.ON Next all our 100% renewable electricity1 comes from the National Grid. The majority of electricity that travels through the grid is generated in Britain from a variety of sources, such as solar, wind farms and natural gas power plants (power stations). It then travels to your regional Distribution Network Operator (DNO) before making it into your home.
What are the main sources of energy in Great Britain?
Electricity can be generated in a multitude of ways – these include renewable and non-renewable sources.
Renewable energy is generated from energy sources that cannot run out – like sunlight and wind. These sources are beneficial to the environment as they do not emit as many greenhouse gases and they avoid the need for invasive practices like fracking to gather fuel.
The most used of each type are:
Renewable energy sources:
Biomass power plants*
Non-renewable energy sources:
Gas power plants
Nuclear power plants (nuclear is carbon free energy, but not renewable)
In 2000 Britain's top three energy sources were coal, gas, and nuclear power plants2. So far, in 2022, Britain's top three sources of energy have been gas power plants, wind farms, and nuclear power plants3. The rise of wind energy and fall of coal power represents an enormous shift toward renewable and low carbon energy sources over the last two decades.
*We generate our own renewable electricity through our biomass plants in Lockerbie and Sheffield which create enough energy to power 100,000 homes.
How is electricity generated?
Traditionally electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels (such as gas and coal) in power stations to release energy in the form of heat. This heat is used to create steam, which spins a turbine that is attached to a generator. As the generator turns inside a strong magnetic field, electricity is generated.
We no longer rely completely on fossil fuels, as they emit greenhouse gases that are causing climate change. Instead we can either use a renewable fuel to generate the heat (such as biomass) or use an alternate, renewable way to spin the turbine (such as wind). Photovoltaic cells are a newer technology that allow us to harness solar power.
How much of the National Grid is renewable?
The amount of energy being generated by renewable sources fluctuates depending on the weather. After all, wind turbines rely on windy days to generate energy and solar panels don’t do much in the dark.
In 2020 the UK hit a significant milestone – for the first time ever, more of our energy came from renewable sources (43.2%) than from fossil fuels (40.8%)4. Since then, the National Grid has consistently provided around 40% of our annual energy from renewable sources5.
Surprisingly the grid is actually more renewable in winter than in summer6, despite energy demand being higher in the colder months7, which can cause backup coal generators to be used. The main reason for this is that Britain’s largest renewable energy source is from wind farms, which produce significantly more energy during the stormy winter months.
Whilst the National Grid is around 40% renewable, at E.ON Next we provide 100% renewable electricity1.
We back every single bit of electricity you get from the grid with a renewable energy source. We have agreements with generators of renewable energy and purchase REGOs as proof of where your energy has come from.
REGOs are Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin. They are administered by the energy industry regulator Ofgem so that you can be certain of their authenticity.
One REGO is issued for every megawatt hour (mWh) of renewable energy produced by generators such as wind farms. We then purchase REGOs equal to the energy used by our customers. Meaning for every single watt of power an E.ON Next customer takes out of the grid, an equal amount has been put in from renewable sources.
Does all your power come from Great Britain?
Not always – when demand is high we can get electricity from abroad. Great Britain is not self-sufficient in electricity generation. The National Grid currently has three international undersea cables called interconnectors that let us trade electricity back and forth. They are also building three more to expand the number of countries we can trade with.
There are two main benefits to having international interconnectors:
When we need more energy we have access to any extra being produced abroad – especially renewable energy.
When we are producing more renewable energy than we need we can trade it to ensure it is not wasted.
Interconnectors make the National Grid more renewable and improve energy security for all the countries involved. It’s a win for us, a win for them, and a big win for the planet.
Make your home smarter with a smart meter.
Switching to a smart meter means you can see exactly what you are spending on your energy in real time. Knowledge is power when it comes to powering your home, so take control of your energy use and make budgeting a cinch. Together we can reduce energy bills as well as carbon emissions. Find out how you can get a smart meter for your home.
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