Centrica set to regain clean generation leadership position

Centrica is on track to regain its leadership position as the generator of electricity with the lowest carbon emissions of all major UK energy suppliers.

Centrica, the owner of British Gas, is on track to regain its leadership position as the generator of electricity with the lowest carbon emissions of all major UK energy suppliers.

The Group is setting an ambitious target to cut carbon intensity from its UK electricity generation by over a quarter, according to its annual Corporate Responsibility report published on 5 May 2010.

Its Direct Energy business is also leading the way in North America, where its generation fleet, located in Texas, supplies power with emissions almost half the state average.

Centrica has in recent years consistently been the cleanest generator of electricity among the UK's major energy suppliers, thanks to its low emitting fleet of gas-fired power stations and growing wind farm portfolio.

Most recently, in April 2010, Centrica brought its high efficiency 885 megawatt gas fired power station at Langage into full commercial operation. Langage has one of the lowest carbon intensities of all the UK's gas fired plant. Centrica's 194MW Lynn and Inner Dowsing facility, the UK's biggest offshore wind farm, became operational in March 2009.

French group EDF Energy temporarily had the lowest UK carbon intensity in 2009 following its acquisition of British Energy, the low carbon nuclear generator.

But Centrica is now setting a new target which by 2012 would see its emissions levels, or carbon intensity, fall to just 270 grammes of CO2 emitted per kilowatt hour (g CO2/kWh) of power generated. This would be down 27% on its 2009 carbon intensity of 371g CO2/kWh, which was its lowest ever and down over a third on its 2005 level of 412g CO2/kWh.

Centrica expects to make very significant strides towards its target in 2010, which should put it back in a leadership position this year, helped by its new wind farms and the acquisition of a 20% stake in British Energy last November.

By comparison, the carbon intensity of the power generated by the UK's Big Six residential energy suppliers averaged 589g CO2/kWh in 2008, with most having large fleets of high emitting coal fired generation.

Centrica Chief Executive Sam Laidlaw said: "To play our part in meeting challenging UK emissions reduction targets we must reduce the carbon content of the power we supply. We will do that by investing in more low carbon generation and more efficient power stations."

In North America, Direct Energy has a fleet of three gas-fired power stations in Texas, where it also has long term power purchase contracts, including the Buffalo Gap wind farm. Carbon intensity from this output is even lower than the UK, at 321g CO2/kWh in 2009, almost half the average in Texas overall of 601g CO2/kWh.



  1. Centrica's UK power generation fleet comprises eight gas-fired power stations, now including Langage, with 4.3 gigawatts (GW) of capacity, and produced 23,200 gigawatt hours of power in 2009. The UK renewables fleet currently comprises 372MW of operated wind capacity.
  2. Centrica is in 2010 commencing construction of its 270MW Lincs offshore wind farm in the Greater Wash in 2010. It is also awaiting consents from DECC for its applications to build the Docking Shoal and Race Bank wind farms, also in the Greater Wash and totalling 1.1GW.
  3. Centrica was in January awarded the exclusive rights to develop the Irish Sea zone in the Government's Round 3 offshore wind auctioning process, which would allow construction of up to a further 4.2GW of capacity.
  4. The carbon intensity of UK gas-fired power stations, at an industry average of around 400g CO2/kWh, is approximately half that of coal plant.
  5. Centrica acquired a 20% equity stake in British Energy from EDF in November 2009. The total output from the British Energy fleet in 2009 was 55.1TWh.