Thousands of households in Britain are to be paid for the electricity that they use during the day for the first time due to the recent surge in renewable energy being produced by solar and wind projects during the coronavirus lockdown.
Last Sunday, windfarms in the UK contributed to nearly 40 per cent of all electricity produced whilst solar power was making up almost a further 20 per cent. During this time, fossil fuels only made up less than 15 per cent of the total power system with only 1.1 per cent of that being produced from coal fired power plants.
Due to the lockdown and restrictions imposed by the government, the demand for electricity in Britain has decreased by around one tenth. The closure of restaurants, pubs, factories and businesses has led to the lowest market price for electricity in ten years.
For households on a new type of home energy tariff were even being paid to make use of electricity during the day last Sunday. The strong breezes alongside the sunny weather helped produce plenty of clean energy to meet the reduced demand for electricity in the UK.
The ‘negative electricity prices’ were previously only obtainable during night hours as this is when demand for electricity is at its lowest. However the impact of the lockdown caused by the coronavirus coupled with the favourable spring weather has meant that some households will be able to make money from using clean energy sources during daytime hours.
Homes which are on the Agile Octopus energy tariff, which is provided by Octopus Energy, were contacted last Saturday by Octopus Energy to let them know that they would be getting paid for each unit of electricity they used during the sunniest hours on the Sunday.
In the hours 11am till 4pm on Sunday, the customers earned from 0.22p to 3.3p per kilowatt hour. This was done as an incentive to help make the most of the abundant clean energy in the UK.
The lockdown in the UK, caused by Covid-19, has so far caused the demand for energy in Britain to drop by between 9 per cent and 13 per cent, state analysts from Cornwall Insight. These has been an increase in home energy usage as more people self isolate and work from home however this increase is outweighed by the large decrease caused by the shutdown of many businesses and factories which need large electrical loads.
Households which are using variable energy tariffs will also more than likely see some energy bill savings as they track the wholesale energy markets price.
The recent drop in the global gas market price over the last year along with the lockdown led to the wholesale price of electricity in the UK to fall to £28 per megawatt hour last week. The market price for electricity has already dropped by a third from January this year and is a lot lower than the recorded market price of £44 per megawatt hour this time last year.