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UK goes coal free

Published: 9 May 2019 - Carly Wills

The United Kingdom has broken its record by going coal free for a whole week - the first time since the original coal power station launched in 1882.

National Grid ESO confirmed that the coal generator came off the system between 1-8 May, which made it the first ever week of coal free operation of the UK’s electricity system. The country has gone without using coal for power for over 1,000 hours so far this year.

Fintan Slye, director of National Grid ESO said: "As more and more renewables come onto our energy system, coal-free runs like this are going to be a regular occurrence. We believe that by 2025 we will be able to fully operate Great Britain’s electricity system with zero carbon."

Commenting on the news, Dr Jonathan Marshall, head of analysis at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said: "Yet another new record for a coal-free power grid further buries the notion that moving away from the most polluting fuels will see the lights go off. Outdated warnings that cutting carbon from our power system would lead to blackouts have been comprehensively proven to be incorrect. In fact, energy bills are falling and emissions are coming down while low-carbon generation continues to go from strength to strength.

“However, to keep the records rolling in, the government needs to ensure that the low-carbon pipeline does not run dry. A slowdown in solar installations and the grounding of new onshore wind capacity has put all of our eggs in the offshore wind basket. While the costs of offshore wind have plummeted, it is not sensible to rely on a single source of power. The government has itself admitted it needs to speed up decarbonisation, so finding a way to boost onshore renewables and nuclear power generation should be an urgent priority.”



 
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