In the UK, the decline of coal power is continuing in dramatic fashion.
1,000 hours have passed in 2018 without the need to draw on Britain’s remaining coal plants. In 2017, the country went 624 hours across the whole year without using coal; in 2016, just 210 hours.
The figure comes from the MyGridGB website, which tracks and compiles official data from the National Grid.
There now remains only eight coal plants in operation, largely in use to support peak energy demand. It’s likely that coal would have been more absent from Britain’s energy mix this year had it not been for the unusually cold conditions at the start of 2018, dubbed the Beast from the East.
Andrew Crossland, an energy analyst which started the project told The Guardian newspaper: “In 2018, Britain saved its coal use for when it needed it most – during the March cold snap.
“Over the rest of the year Britain’s renewable sector has provided record amounts of electricity, with more than 7.4% coming from solar over the past four weeks.”
Coal use has declined by 75 percent between 2014 and 2017, according to analysis from the Carbon Brief website. Overall, this led to 5.3 percent of energy consumption coming from coal last year, a historic low.
Last year, Britain went a full 24 hours without using coal, the first time since the start of the Industrial Revolution. This has since been surpassed by frequent occasions when coal was offline for long stretches of time.
A spokesperson at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy commented: “The UK leads the world in tackling climate change and this shows the time of unabated coal fired electricity is being ended by a cleaner, greener future increasingly powered by renewable energy.”
On current trends, it is likely that the UK will phase-out all unabated coal plants long before the government’s 2025 target.
This post was originally published here