​U.K. sets record for power generation without coal as green power grows

Aberdeen offshore wind farm. Image: Vattenfall

The U.K. has gone more than five days without burning coal, the longest streak the country has managed without burning the fuel since the Industrial Revolution.

Great Britain was an early adopter of renewable energy and has more offshore wind turbines installed than any other country. It also has fields of solar panels that are meeting more and more demand as old traditional power plants close permanently.

The nation will quit burning coal for power entirely by 2025 and the policy ambition has seen the country’s emissions tumble to pre-industrial levels. Coal’s portion of the power generation mix has dropped from 40 per cent just six years ago to five per cent last year.

No coal has been used for power generation by stations in the U.K. since about 1 p.m. in London on May 1, according to grid data on Bloomberg. The previous record from earlier this year was 90 hours. Other sources have stepped in and on Saturday, wind generated as much as 27 per cent of the country’s power followed by gas at 25 per cent and nuclear at 24 per cent.

“As more and more renewables come onto our energy system, coal-free runs like this are going to increasingly seem like the new normal,” National Grid said. “We believe that by 2025 we will be able to fully operate Great Britain’s electricity system with zero carbon.”

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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