It was a historic milestone for Britain recently when it was documented that zero coal was being used in the UK fuel mix to generate electricity. Between the days of Monday, May 9th right through to the following Sunday we saw on seven occasions that zero coal was being used to generate electricity; coal electricity consumption was at zero late Monday night and for the early hours of Tuesday morning, also on Thursday there was not any electricity from coal for more than twelve and a half hours. Instead a mixture of gas, nuclear and wind was used.
This has been said not to have happened since 1882, according to the Carbon Brief website which reports on climate science and energy policy. Many say it is probably a result of the rise of renewable energy being used instead such as wind, solar, and hydro - April was the first month ever when power from wind farms outstripped coal, and last week we saw solar generate more electricity over a week than the fossil fuel for the first time. It is also said to have happened due to falling power prices, which has made it increasingly uneconomical to run coal-fired power stations. Analysis suggests that coal power stations need a power price of about £40 per megawatt hour to make them worth running, and this is simply just not happening as the average price for last week was just £29 per megawatt hour, and therefore several coal power stations encountered many problems which led to the National Grid having to issue emergency requests for more power. In March two of Britain's biggest coal power stations closed completely due to these problems. This is not the end for UK coal power just yet, but Britain is getting closer to closing all coal-fired power stations down.
Managing Director of F&S Energy, Steven Funnell says: " This is good news, this event shows us that our future can be fossil-fuel free and much greener. To see Wind and Solar outperform coal for the first time in the UK is a big turning point and It proves that our energy is becoming cleaner with renewable sources. This truly does mark an historic turning point in the UK and makes us optimistic on a much more renewable energy focused future, it is the kind of change that we want to happen."
Coal has been a major source of fuel to power Britain's electricity for many years, nevertheless we are now seeing a shift towards a much greener alternative.