The UK goes coal free for one week for the first time in 137 years!

The UK has been running on coal powered electricity stations since 1882, the National Grid’s Electricity System Operator (ESO) has reported for the first time, the UK has gone coal free for a week!

This is a huge milestone for clean energy and the battle against climate change. Britain is also on track to be zero carbon by 2025, which if achieved, would be incredible.

It was reported that coal generators were turned off around on May 1, 2019 at approximately 1.30pm until the same time on May 8, according to ESO.

Fintan Slye, Director of ESO said in a statement, “while this is the first time this has happened, I predict it will become the ‘new normal… 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.”

The UK has committed to phase out coal power plants by 2025. If this is true it will be a huge step for the UK energy industry.

What powers the UK?

The week the UK went coal free Emma Pinchbeck, deputy CEO at RenewableUK speaking to CNN said, “wind has become a mainstream power source for the UK, providing up to 35% of our electricity over the weekend. Renewables have been crucial to phasing out dirty coal.”

 

Wind turbine.jpg
Wind Turbine off shore – Blyth, UK.

 

In 2018 it was reported that the lowest level of electricity has been generated since 1994! Renewable sources accounted for 33% of 2018’s energy and a further 53% was low carbon sources such as nuclear.

 

Why is renewable energy generating more electricity?

There’s a overall awareness in the public mind that we need to act on climate change, including moving away from dirty fuel sources. Money has played a part too, due to European Emissions Performance Standards, a lot of old power plants would have had to spend a lot of money on new equipment before 2020. The economy overall does not favour coal and renewable energy is seen as more attractive for profit too.

 

Threat to coastal communities.

It has been known for some time rising sea levels, increasingly extreme weather and coastal erosion as a result has been a threat to many coastal communities in the UK. As an island it is a massive issues and some UK residents have had to leave their homes already as a result. The switch to clean energy is another step towards a greener planet.

 

Hemsby Coastal Erosion
Hemsby, UK. Home falling due to erosion.

 

What can we do?

It can be as small as turn your TV off instead of stand by, lights off if you aren’t in the room, energy efficient bulbs and electrical appliances. If we place less demand on the energy sector to supply electricity ten we can move away from coal sooner. Encourage your work place to remind employee to turn lights off in empty meeting rooms, turn PC monitors off and only charge devices when necessary.  We can all make One Change Now to help clean up our planet.

 

Related blogs:

How to save the environment.
Environmental damage, seeing is believing.
5 ways to live greener.

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