Great Britain has seen coal-free electricity generation for over two weeks, hitting a new environmental milestone.
As of yesterday morning (Monday 3rd June), Great Britain has generated electricity without the use of coal for over 16 days. This is the first time the nation has produced energy without the fossil fuel over a two week period since the industrial revolution.
The National Grid Electricity System Operator for England, Scotland and Wales confirmed the two-week milestone on Friday. This comes a month after the UK recorded its first week with zero-coal electricity, as the nation aims to phase out its use to meet environmental targets.
At 9.30am, 03/06/2019 - Energy UK tweeted – ‘the current record setting run for #zerocoal has now gone over 400 hours (16 days 17 hours).’
Coal has been part of UK electricity generation since 1882 when the first plant opened in Holborn, London. In 2012, the nation generated around 40% of its energy from coal but this figure decreased significantly in 2018 to just 5%.
Natural gas has played a key part in reducing the use of coal as it produces 50% less CO2 emissions. In addition, the rapid growth of renewable power, such as wind and solar has also made a vital contribution, making up 28% of electricity generation in 2018.
On May 14th 2019, Great Britain generated 25% of its electricity from solar power.
As it stands, seven coal-fired power plants are still operational in the UK but they are largely used as back-up generation during winter periods. One of these facilities, the Cottam plant in Nottinghamshire is due to close this September, with all coal plants due to be shut down by 2025.