The UK has gone for more than four days without making use of coal-fired power for generating electricity, thus smashing the record that was set last month’s Easter weekend. National Grid stated that by late Monday morning, the UK had gone 122 hours in a row and rising without the use of coal. It should be noted that the burning of coal is one of the world’s largest contributors to climate change.
This is the first time that the nation has met its power requirements for such a long time without relying on fossil fuel ever since the first coal-fired power station was opened in London in 1882. Britain has managed to clock in over 1,000 hours in total without requiring coal in 2019.
A spokesperson for the National Grid Electricity System Operator said, ‘As more and more renewables come onto our energy system weekends like this are going to seem like the ‘new normal increasingly. We believe that by 2025 we will be able to operate Great Britain’s electricity system with zero carbon fully. The transformation of how we get the energy to heat our homes and power our work is a massive change, but the advantages it brings in terms of green energy far outweigh any challenges.’
Although coal is being phased out, the UK is still quite far from making the targets that would make it achieve net zero emissions by 2020. The said targets have been demanded by the climate change advisers in the government. Environmental groups are angry at Theresa May after she refused to act ‘now’ saying that she will ‘respond urgently’ to the need for new laws. Experts have also warned that most of the power requirements that were being met by coal are getting replaced by gas, and it is becoming the dominant source of Britain’s electricity needs. Despite being less harmful, it is a fossil fuel, and as per the 2008 Climate Change Act, its emissions have to be reduced by 80% in 2050 as compared to the levels recorded in 1990.
A government spokesperson has said, ‘We’re closing in on phasing out coal entirely from our power system by 2025 as our renewables sector goes from strength to strength on our path to becoming the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions.’ What do you think? Do let us know!