Britain Powered Itself Entirely Without Coal For The First Time Since The Industrial Age
For the very first time since the Industrial Age some 135 years ago, Great Britain was able to power itself entirely without using any coal whatsoever. Now, even though it was only for one day, the National Grid did say that it is bound to happen more often from now on.
The energy that came out were produced half by natural gas, about a quarter came from nuclear power, and the rest came from renewable sources like biomass and wind. A milder weather, which made people use less energy, also helped here to a relatively high degree. This news comes after the Government made a pledge to completely phase out coal by the end of 2025.
To be fair, this news doesn’t come as much of a surprise since coal has been steadily removed from the national power grid. Over the past years, many coal plants, especially older ones, have closed down and as of 2016, wind power outperformed coal in the country. While the fossil fuel in question generated 9.2 percent of all energy, wind was accountable for 11.5 percent.
The National Grid reported that it ran without coal for 19 hours on the 20th of April, and on the 21st, it went the whole day. This is a first for the country ever since it opened its first coal-fired generator in 1882, in London.
“More power generation stations are shutting down and this means Britain’s energy mix is more diversified, which is a good thing for the country. We are expecting to be repeating this more frequently as we head towards ending our reliance on coal,” they said.
The National Grid was unable to predict when the next day without coal would happen, saying that their purpose is to balance and even out the supply with the demand on a daily and minute-to-minute basis.
It is important to note that renewable sources of energy made up a quarter of all the country’s demand, with another quarter coming from nuclear sources. In any case, Scotland as a whole has a higher proportion of renewable sources than the rest of the UK and the whole sector is supporting somewhere around 400,000 jobs.
Mr Redmond-King, the head of Climate and Energy at WWF, said getting rid of coal in the energy mix is still not enough to meet the UK’s international commitments to tackle climate change.
“We haven’t made anything like the same progress on decarbonising buildings and transport,” he said. “Whoever forms the next government after the general election, they must prioritise a plan for reducing emissions from all sectors – which shows how the UK will continue to develop these changes and guarantee an environmentally clean and economically successful future for the UK.”