Britain goes two days without using coal for first time in 136 years

  20 April 2018    Read: 1053
Britain goes two days without using coal for first time in 136 years

The record run of almost 55 hours of coal-free electricity generation between Monday and Thursday is a mark of the fossil fuel’s “rapid decline”, experts said.

It is the first time the nation has been powered for so long without using coal since the world’s first coal-fired power station for public use was opened in London in 1882.

The country’s previous record was around 40 hours at the end of October last year, though the National Grid said it occurred over a weekend when demand is generally lower.

“The UK benefits from highly diverse and flexible sources of electricity and our energy mix continues to change,” Fintan Slye, the National Grid’s director of UK systems operations, told The Independent.

He added: “However, it’s important to remember coal is still an important source of energy as we transition to a low carbon system.”

On Tuesday, more than 60 per cent of Britain’s electricity was generated using zero or low-carbon energy, including nuclear (20.1 per cent), wind (33.7 per cent), solar (3.3 per cent), biomass (5 per cent) and hydro (0.9 per cent). Wednesday saw similar figures.

Carbon Tracker, a think tank specialising in the energy sector, said it expected “more records to be broken this summer as coal continues its rapid decline”.

High levels of renewable output and the comparatively low price of gas were the two drivers of the unprecedented streak, the National Grid said, adding it was possible the record could be broken again in the coming months.

It comes just weeks after wind power set a new record in the UK by generating 14 gigawatts of electricity for the first time – nearly 37 per cent of the country’s needs.


The Independent

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