UK Goes Record 6 Days Without Burning Coal — 1st Time Since 1881
Coal plants have been pushed off the system.
The United Kingdom went a record six days without burning coal this past year — marking the longest recorded period since 1881.
The news comes from a new study by biomass power company Drax and Imperial College London. The study also found the UK received 50.2% of its energy from sources cleaner than coal like solar, wind, biomass, nuclear, and hydropower, and imported low-carbon energy from France between July and September this year.
The study focused on energy markets trends within the UK to see which types of energy are in higher demand.
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In 2010 energy from low-carbon emission sources were 20% of the country's energy market. The jump to more than half the country’s energy in just six years is promising, showing that a break from carbon is possible.
“Coal plants have been pushed off the system by competition from gas, nuclear and renewables,” the report stated. "5 May 2016 was a historic day, the first time since 1881 that Britain burnt no coal to produce its electricity."
Twenty-six percent of lower-carbon power came from nuclear energy produced in the UK. This was the largest contributor to cutting down on coal. Solar (10%), wind (5%), and biomass (4%) followed as the most commonly used.
One-quarter of coal power plants were shut down in the last year across the UK as well.
“Cleaner energy has reached a record high, and carbon emissions from electricity hit a record low,” said Andy Koss, CEO, DRAX.
This is great progress after the UK government set a goal to close the country’s remaining coal power plants by 2025.
Meanwhile, the US's clean energy prospects have grown murkier, as citizens wonder what President-elect Trump will do with the Paris Agreement, and whether he will follow through on his campaign promise to expand US coal production.
As the US awaits a new environmental era, good news on climate change from across the pond is a welcome respite and glimmer of hope for the planet.