This Map Shows How Depressingly Reliant We Are On Fossil Fuels

By James O Malley on at

Electricity is an amazing thing when you think about it. The hassle of generating it, the faff of transmitting it, and the challenge of making sure that it is always working. Yet we hardly ever actually think about it, because it is always just there. But now a fabulous new map shows us what is going on behind the scenes.

The folks at CarbonBrief have put together an interactive map showing the locations of all of the power stations in the UK, and you can filter it by the different types of power: Oil, Gas, Nuclear, Hydro-Electric, Wind and so on.

It actually makes for depressing viewing, as it shows just how maddeningly reliant we still are on fossil fuels, with oil, coal and gas dominating.

It's fun to click around though. In the above screenshot, you can see the hydro-electric plants - all of which don't contribute much to the grid, aside from the enormous plant at Dinorwig in North Wales, which is used for balancing the network when demand peaks. (It's thanks to that station that we don't have power outages after World Cup matches when everyone switches on the kettle at the same time).

It's also a good map if you enjoy making yourself completely paranoid. It turns that out we only have two "interconnectors" with the rest of Europe - not quite a single point of failure, but enough to make network administrators get a little twitchy.

You can play with the map yourself on the CarbonBrief website.