UK goes one week without coal power

The UK has gone a full week without using coal to generate electricity for the first time since 1882, in a landmark moment which follows the government’s recent pledge to phase out coal-fired electricity by 2025.

The last coal generator came off the system on May 1st and remained offline by May 8th, with the UK instead producing electricity from a mix of natural gas, nuclear, renewable energy and imports during the seven-day period.

Polluting coal-fired power stations are still used in the UK’s energy system as a backup source during high demand, but the increasing use of renewables such as wind power means that it is required less.

Reductions in the UK’s coal usage have been responsible for halving electricity generation emissions since 2013, according to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). Last week the CCC published a report which called for the UK to set a net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050.

The UK’s Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “Going a week without coal for the first time since the Industrial Revolution is a huge leap forward in our world-leading efforts to reduce emissions, but we’re not stopping there.”

“To combat climate change and seize on the opportunities of clean growth, we’re phasing out coal entirely by 2025 and building a cleaner, greener energy system.

“We lead the world when it comes to tackling climate change and we want to carry on breaking records, which is why we’ve put foundations in place to allow our renewables sector to thrive,” he added.