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Britain sets record of 7 days without coal power as renewables surge

Posted by Green Builder Staff

May 20, 2019 9:42:48 AM

Great Britain's power grid used no coal for seven days.

The seven days without burning coal is showing how renewables can take on more of the energy required by a major economy.

From ThinkProgress.org:

“As more and more renewables come onto our energy system, coal-free runs like this are going to increasingly seem like the new normal,” a National Grid spokesperson told Bloomberg.

The U.K. currently has only six operational coal plants still running. England has five, Wales has one, and Scotland went coal-free back in 2016. The goal is for these remaining plants to shutter over the next few years.

But even when all of the coal plants in Britain have closed, it will still be generating a substantial portion of its electricity with natural gas — as much as 40%.

Given that the country has a target of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in three decades — and is actively considering a net-zero emissions goal for 2050 — the next step will be to start phasing out gas plants. Much of that natural gas generation appears likely to be replaced by offshore wind, which the U.K. expects will generate over 30% of the country’s electricity from by 2030.

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