UK goes coal-free for over 100 hours – breaking previous record

Last month’s Easter weekend record for the longest time Britain has gone without using coal-generated electricity has already been broken.

On Monday morning, the National Grid announced that in a period of 122 hours – the UK hadn’t burned coal to produce any electricity.

This brings the total to over 1,000 hours since January and it certainly looks like it will be a record year. The number of coal-free hours in 2018 was 1,800.

“As more and more renewables come onto our energy system weekends like this are going to increasingly seem like the ‘new normal’,” said a spokesperson for the National Grid Electricity System Operator.

Phasing out coal

The UK government plans to phase out coal by 2025 to reduce carbon emissions. However, even though coal only accounts for less than 10% of the UK’s power output, that power is largely being replaced by gas.

Whilst gas is far less harmful than coal, it is a fossil fuel and the 2008 Climate Change Act requires fossil fuel emissions to be reduced by 80% in 2050 compared with 1990 levels.

A government spokesman said: “Decarbonising our energy system is a crucial part of our commitment to ending our contribution to global warming.

“We’re closing in on phasing out coal entirely from our power system by 2025 as our renewables sector goes from strength to strength on our path to becoming the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions.”

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