UK Breaks Coal-Free Record

Coal-fired plants have not contributed to the electricity grid for over 18 consecutive days.


Britain has gone without coal-fired power generation for its longest stretch since the Industrial Revolution, breaking the existing record of 18 consecutive days that was set on 4 June 2019. This week's new record was achieved partly because of a collapse in demand for electricity during the lockdown with factories and shops closed, and partly because of greater use of solar power.


The lower overall demand for electricity means low-carbon energy sources are able to make up a greater proportion of the energy system than usual.


The new coal-free record comes almost three years after the grid first ran without coal power for 24 hours for the first time. Since then, all but four of the UK’s coal power plants have shut in advance of a government ban on coal generation from 2025.


Coal made up only 2.1% of the country’s total power mix last year, a dramatic fall from almost a quarter just four years ago.


This good news for the UK follows last week's news that solar, wind and other renewables provided 78% of electricity requirements for Germany during the week. And, in even better news, this is the week that conservationists are celebrating yet another environmental milestone as the last polluting coal-fired power plants in Austria and Sweden closed their doors.