UK Energy Watch


Electricity: Real-time Data

Data provided by Elexon under licence. Indicative only; no warranty given, no liability accepted. To further exploit this data contact Elexon.
Electricity Generation by Category ?
Generation Type ? Power ? CO2 emissions ?
Combined Cycle Gas Turbine ? 5,687 MW 580 KgCO2 s-1
Open Cycle Gas Turbine ? 0 MW 0 KgCO2 s-1
Oil ? 0 MW 0 KgCO2 s-1
Coal ? 12,431 MW 3,360 KgCO2 s-1
Nuclear ? 5,985 MW 0 KgCO2 s-1
Wind ? 2,489 MW 0 KgCO2 s-1
Pumped Storage Hydro ? 34 MW 0 KgCO2 s-1
Non Pumped Storage Hydro ? 276 MW 0 KgCO2 s-1
Interconnect - France ? 1,928 MW Unknown
Interconnect - Ireland ? 0 MW Unknown
Interconnect - Netherlands ? 1,031 MW Unknown
Other ? 1,088 MW 0 KgCO2 s-1
? Updated: 28 November 2014 23:40:00
Settlement Date: 28 November 2014
Settlement Period: 48
Information - Electricity Generation by Category
Electricity in the UK is generated from:
  • Large power stations within the UK.
  • Electrical interconnects with France, Ireland and the Netherlands.
  • Small-scale generation within the UK. Generally this is wind, solar or hydro-electric generation owned by private individuals or businesses.
Large power stations can be categorised by which fuel they use to generate electricity, as shown in the table. To see information about each generation type, click on the relevant help link.
Information - Generation Type
Power production within the UK is split into categories, depending on the source of the electricity. For 'traditional' power stations this is by fuel and generation technology; other categories are electricity imports from other countries.
Category Fuel Notes
Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) Natural Gas More efficient than OCGT, but more expensive to build
Open Cycle Gas Turbine (OCGT) Natural Gas Less efficient than CCGT, but cheaper to build
Oil Oil
Coal Coal The fuel that produces the most pollution per MW
Nuclear Uranium
Wind Renewable Wind ultimately gets energy from the sun
Pumped Storage Hydro - Used as electricity storage
Non Pumped Storage Hydro Renewable Hydro ultimately gets energy from the sun
Interconnect - France Unknown Imports from France
Interconnect - Ireland Unknown Imports from Ireland
Interconnect - Netherlands Unknown Imports from the Netherlands
Note that most energy in the UK is poduced by burning fossil fuels.
Information - Power
The power being generated now by each category.
1 MW = 1,000,000 Watts
Compact fluorescent light bulb
Compact fluorescent light bulb
One household energy efficient lightbulb will usually use between 5 Watts and 15 Watts of power.
Information - CO2 Emissions
Burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) produces CO2 (Carbon Dioxide). The quantity of fossil fuels used needs to be reduced for many reasons:
  • The CO2 produced contributes towards climate change; significantly disrupting life for future generations on our planet.
  • Many other pollutants apart from CO2 are produced, especially from coal.
  • Fossil fuels are non-renewable - they will run out.
  • As fossil fuelds become scarcer, the techniques used for producing them become more 'dirty'. More pollution is caused by mining the fossil fuel before the fuel is even used.
Notice that electricity generation in the UK produces between four and seven tonnes of CO2 every second (depending on the time of day).
This is approximately 200 million tonnes of CO2 every year.
This is a lot.
How are CO2 emissions calculated?
See Carbon Dioxide Calculations for details.
Information - CO2 per kWh (or per unit)
This is the amount of carbon dioxide created every second per unit (which is the same as kWh). Although it varies over time due to changes in the power stations currently being used to generate electricity, it is approximately 0.5 kg per unit.
This means, for example, that if you use 10 units (or kWh) of electricity in one day, then this will have generated 5 kg of CO2.
The best ways to reduce this is:
  • Reduce the amount of electricity you use.
  • Change to a green energy supplier, or a green tariff. This will increase the amount of carbon-free generation in the UK, therefore reducing the average amount of CO2 generated per unit.
Information - Updating
This real-time UK electricity generation data is updated every five minutes; the page does not need refreshing, if will automatically update.
The data is provided by Elexon Ltd. via the BMReports website.
Information - Combined Cycle Gas Turbine
A Combine Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power plant uses two seperate generation processes:
  • A gas turbine powered by natural gas is directly connected to an electrical generator.
  • The hot waste gases from the gas turbine are used to generate steam to power a second electrical generator.
By combining these two processes in a single power plant the efficiency of the conversion of chemical energy (in the fuel) to electrical energy can be increase to almost 60%, albeit at a modest increase in complexity and cost. All recent gas-powered power stations will be CCGT, rather than Open Cycle Gas Turbine (OCGT).
Although a CCGT power plant is the most efficient design of fossil-fuel power station that exists, they still emit large quantities of carbon dioxide, adding to the effects of climate change.
Information - Open Cycle Gas Turbine
An Open Cycle Gas Turbine (OCGT) power station is one of the simplest and cheapest power plants, powered by natural gas, with a gas turbine connected to an electrical generater. However, the waste gases from the gas turbine hold a considerable amount of heat energy that is thrown away, unlike in a Closed Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power plant. This waste of energy causes an OCGT to be inefficient.
There are very few OCGT power stations in the UK. Almost all gas powered plants are now the more efficient Closed Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) design.
As natural gas is a fossil fuel, an OCGT power plant emits large quantites of carbon dioxide, adding to the effects of climate change.
Information - Oil
Oil power stations burn fuel refined from crude oil. In the UK there are very few purely oil-fired power stations, but there are a number of duel-fired power stations; these are capable of burning oil and coal, or oil and gas.
Information - Coal
Coal power stations burn coal to boil water, producing steam which drives a steam turbine which is connected to an electrical generator.
These are the least efficient and most polluting of all types of power station in the UK and produce the most CO2 (and other pollutants) per unit of electricity of all fuels.
Information - Nuclear
Nuclear power stations generate electricity from heat generated from nuclear fission. This generated no immediate atmospheric pollution, including generating no CO2; however it does generate radioactive waste that is dangerous over periods of 100 to 10,000 years, depending on the type of nuclear power station that generated them and what reprocessing has been performed.
Information - Wind
Wind power is a CO2-free power source which generates no atmospheric pollution at all during operation.
Information - Pumped Storage
Pumped-storage is used for storing electricity, and it is the only currently viable method of storing useful amounts of electricity for use on the nation electricity grid.
Water is pumped from a lower reservoir to a higher reservoir during periods of low national electricity demand, and then released to drive power-generating turbines from the high reservoir during times or high or rapidly rising electrical demand.
Information - Non Pumped Storage Hydro
Hydro-electricity (or non pumped storage hydro) is a CO2-free power source which generates no atmospheric pollution at all during operation.
Information - Interconnect - France
The UK national grid ( W ) has three interconnects which allow importing and exporting electricity internationally. These are used when UK electricity demand is significantly different to the demand of the connected country; or when the current price of electricity in each country makes it beneficial to trade electricity.
The UK has a 2,000MW interconnect to France, consisting of four 500MW high-voltage direct-current cables between Sellindge (near Folkstone) in England and Les Mandarins in France. The cables are 70km long, with 45km of that under the sea. This interconnect began operating in 1986.
Information - Interconnect - Ireland
The UK national grid ( W ) has three interconnects which allow importing and exporting electricity internationally. These are used when UK electricity demand is significantly different to the demand of the connected country; or when the current price of electricity in each country makes it beneficial to trade electricity.
Great Britain has a 500MW interconnect to Northern Ireland, consisting of two 250MW high-voltage direct-current cables between Auchencrosh in Scotland and Ballycronan More in Northern Ireland. The cables are 63km long, mostly under the sea. This interconnect began operating in 2002.
This interconnect is fully within the UK national grid, joining the electricity grid systems in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. No records appear to be available for the electricity flow across this interconnect - it shows as 0MW.
Information - Interconnect - Netherlands
The UK national grid ( W ) has three interconnects which allow importing and exporting electricity internationally. These are used when UK electricity demand is significantly different to the demand of the connected country; or when the current price of electricity in each country makes it beneficial to trade electricity.
The UK has a 1,000MW interconnect to the Netherlands, consisting of one 260km high-voltage direct-current cable between the Isle of Grain in England and Maasvlakte in the Netherlands. This interconnect began operating in early 2011.
For more information see www.britned.com
Information - Other
Electricity generation that is not included in any other category.
There is no significant generation in this category.