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UK Goes Coal Free For Two Months

UK Goes Coal Free For Two Months
17 June 2020
 

The UK has passed a hugely significant energy milestone this month, going two full months without burning coal to generate power. 

The last coal generator came off the system at midnight on 9 April and the two-month record was reached on 10 June. This is the longest period the country has gone without using coal to generate power since the industrial revolution.

Increased home working, a decrease in electricity demand and warmer weather is said to be responsible for the new record.

“The dominance of renewable energy and the decline of coal power highlights a significant transformation to the UK’s grid in recent years. We must now turn our attentions to how we can increase the UK’s clean power capacity in pursuit of the country’s target to become a net-zero emission economy by 2050.”

– Steve Malkin

CEO, The Planet Mark

 

Coal Still Accounts For A Quarter Of The World’s Energy Mix

 

Louise Kingham OBE FEI, Chief Executive of the Energy Institute, commented that the phasing out of coal is seen by their members as one of the stand-out achievements of UK policy over the last decade:

“Lower demand as a result of the warmer weather and the global pandemic is obviously part of the story, but it’s clear this is the energy transition happening before our eyes.

“At the same time, let’s not forget, if we are to truly tackle the climate emergency and meet our ambitious emissions reduction goals in the UK, there is much more to be done – in particular in heat and transport. And globally of course, coal still accounts for a quarter of the world’s energy mix, which is why we need to see ambition from all countries and technology developed to take carbon out of our global energy system.”

 

A Symbolic and Practical Milestone

 

Steve Malkin, CEO of The Planet Mark, added that he felt this was both a symbolic and practical milestone in the UK’s commitment to net-zero carbon:

“Rewind the clock 10 years and just 3 per cent of Britain’s electricity came from wind and solar. In 2020 so far, renewables have generated more electricity than fossil fuels put together.

“The dominance of renewable energy and the decline of coal power highlights a significant transformation to the UK’s grid in recent years. We must now turn our attentions to how we can increase the UK’s clean power capacity in pursuit of the country’s target to become a net-zero emission economy by 2050.”

 

The Unprecedented Fall Of Oil Prices And The Impact On Businesses

 

"Another milestone is the unprecedented fall of oil prices, dropping to historic lows due to the demand for fuel plummeting during the COVID-19 outbreak. Thanks to wind and solar, the National Grid has achieved yet another breakthrough: the lowest carbon intensity of the grid at 56gCO2/kWh on 17 August 2019 – forecasts are predicting this record low will be beaten again in 2020 - watch this space.

– Darren Jones

Operations Director, UK Energy Management

 

 

Darren Jones of UK Energy Management, highlighted the dramatic fail in oil prices and other renewable energy breakthroughs:

"Another milestone is the unprecedented fall of oil prices, dropping to historic lows due to the demand for fuel plummeting during the COVID-19 outbreak. Thanks to wind and solar, the National Grid has achieved yet another breakthrough: the lowest carbon intensity of the grid at 56gCO2/kWh on 17 August 2019 – forecasts are predicting this record low will be beaten again in 2020 - watch this space.

"Despite this reduction, businesses are still burdened with higher energy prices due to green taxes and levies, as well as energy prices being calculated using an archaic funding infrastructure, rather than concentrating on energy generation. The annoying result is not seeing lower wholesale prices being passed on to customers as they used to be, mainly due to it being a smaller part of your overall energy cost.

"We are no doubt making progress – only eight years ago coal was by far the largest contributor to our energy generation mix – how can we do better? More of the same, perhaps? No. Customers are now more sophisticated; a demand is growing for innovative energy management which delivers lower costs and more carbon-friendly practices."

Picture: A photograph of a coal-fired power plant

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 17 June 2020

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