National Grid have announced that for the first time since the industrial revolution, Great Britain has managed an entire day without using electricity produced from coal.
This is the first time the country has gone without coal-produced power for an entire day. The electricity has been generated from natural gas (50.3%), nuclear (21.2%), wind (12.2%), imports from other countries (8.3%), biomass (6.7%) and solar (3.6%), this was achieved on April 21st. This is a vast drop from 2015 when coal production accounted for 22% of the UK’s power generation. (The numbers provided do not total 100% because of power exports to other countries and hydro production).
The amount of electricity generated from coal did fall to zero at certain points over last year, these periods amounted to a total of 200 hours when no coal was used for energy production in 2016, but this was the first time that a whole 24 hours had passed.
Half of the country’s coal capacity has been retired in the last three or four years as the government plans to phase coal power out altogether by 2025.
There is a startling drop in the amount of coal being produced in Britain provided in the latest government figures. In fact, production halved between 2015 and 2016. Imports are falling, too, and coal stocks at the end of 2016 had reached a record low.
However, it’s likely that for several years to come, coal could still be used as an on-demand energy source to help the National Grid deal with peak periods. Reason being that coal power stations can be turned up/down to produce more/less whereas nuclear and renewables cant. On a positive front, renewable sources like wind power continue to rise in terms of electricity production in the UK, a largely coal-free future seems to be approaching.