From boiling kettles to reaching net zero: take the clean energy quiz

Do you know how much energy UK households use each year to put the kettle on? Or by which year we have to hit our net zero target? Take this quiz to test your knowledge.

1. How many times a day do most UK households boil the kettle?

A. One to two times

B. Three to four 

C. Five or more


B. Three to four times.

It’s estimated the country uses six terawatt-hours of electricity a year just to boil kettles, which at a household level represents about 6% of your annual average electricity bill. And most of us boil more water than we need each time.

2. Which aim does reaching ‘net zero’ describe? 

A. Successfully removing all greenhouse gases from the atmosphere

B. Adding no more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than we take away

C. Removing all abandoned fishing nets from the seabed


B. Adding no more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than we take away.

It refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gases (such as CO2, which is released when fossil fuels are burned to power homes, businesses and transport, as well as methane from agriculture) that are produced and the amount that’s removed from the atmosphere. It can be achieved through a combination of emission reduction and emission removal.

3. By which year is the UK aiming to reach net zero?

A. 2050

B. 2035

C. There is no longer a set year for reaching net zero


A. 2050

To keep temperature rises to no more than 1.5°C and limit the worst impacts of global heating, as called for in the Paris Agreement, greenhouse gas emissions need to reach net zero by 2050.

4. What does it mean to call something a ‘clean energy’ source? 

A. It’s the energy you use to get clean, such as for hot showers and baths

B. It’s energy from a source that creates little or no greenhouse gas emissions 

C. It’s not dirty to the touch 


B. It’s energy from a source that creates little or no greenhouse gas emissions.

Clean energy is energy that when generated or created emits little or no greenhouse gas emissions, so does not pollute the air. The term encompasses a variety of sources, including nuclear power.

5. Renewable energy sources include wind power, solar power and hydroelectric energy (including from the tides). What do they fundamentally all have in common?

A. They are all renewed by the government several times a year

B. They all come from a source that won’t run out 

C. They are all sources of energy that are totally free to produce 


B. They all come from a source that won’t run out.

Renewable energy comes from constantly and naturally occurring sources, such as the sun and wind. Renewable energy is also often called sustainable energy.

6. In 2020, the UK managed to run on what for 68 days?

A. Coal-free power 

B. Tidal-only power

C. A stiff upper lip


A. Coal-free power.

The UK’s 1,630 hours of generating electricity without using coal in spring 2020 was the longest such run since the Industrial Revolution.

7. In 2023 the UK produced its trillionth kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity generated from renewable sources, having taken 50 years to reach this goal. How many years is it projected to take for us to reach the next trillionth kWh?

A. 20 years

B. 10 years 

C. Five years 


C. Five years.

The massive figure of 1tn kilowatt hours represents enough energy to power UK homes for 12 years. While it took 50 years to reach this milestone, it will take just over five years to generate the next trillionth kWh of renewable electricity based on current projections.

8. The government’s target to add 50GW of offshore wind generation by 2030 is the equivalent of taking how many petrol and diesel cars off the road?

A. 1 million 

B. 5.2 million 

C. All of them


B. 5.2 million.

The UK government has set a target to connect an additional 50GW of renewable offshore wind power to the electricity grid by 2030. This will enable enough zero carbon energy generation per year to take more than one-sixth of the UK's approximately 32 million fossil-fuel cars off the road.

9. Which of these is currently one of the proposed ways of transporting clean energy across the UK more efficiently?

A. A huge upgrade of the country’s electricity grid

B. A fleet of thousands of battery-powered drones 

C. A new electric train network solely for clean energy deliveries 


A. A huge upgrade of the country’s electricity grid.

We will build new electricity infrastructure and upgrade existing networks to get more clean energy from where it’s generated – by wind turbines out in the North Sea for instance – to where it’s needed by homes and businesses, ensuring the country’s electricity grid is fit for a clean energy future.

10. What is the name of National Grid’s plan to deliver more clean energy to UK homes and businesses in future?

A. The Great Green Grid 

B. The Great Grid Upgrade 

C. The Great Leap Forward


B. The Great Grid Upgrade 

The Great Grid Upgrade is the largest overhaul of the electricity grid in generations. Comprising 17 new infrastructure projects across England and Wales, it will connect more clean energy to homes and businesses.

How many did you get right?


Person wearing orange jumper pouring hot water from a kettle into a cup

0-4Make a clean start 

Clean energy is the future, so it’s definitely worth your while to find out more about it.

5-7 = Clean, green machine

Nice! Whether it was homework or guesswork, clean energy is clearly your forte.

8-10 = A clean sweep!

Impressive! You’re a real energy hero … and are probably in that small minority of people who don’t overfill the kettle every time. 


Learn more about The Great Grid Upgrade and how it will help the UK switch to clean energy 


Originally published in The Guardian on 4 March 2024. Byline: Sophy Grimshaw

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