UK runs without coal for a week

UK runs without coal for a week

The United Kingdom ran a week without energy from coal-fired power stations. This is announced by the network operator Electricity Systems Operator (ESO). It is the first time since the introduction of the coal-fired power stations in 1882 that this has happened.

According to British media, the network operator knows six hours in advance whether the generation capacity of a coal-fired power station is needed. On Wednesday 1 May at 2.24 pm Dutch time, no coal-fired power station was added for the first time since 1882. The milestone of a week without coal was reached on Wednesday. Last year the British network operator was already able to deliver 72 hours of energy without using coal-fired power stations; the first coal-free day was registered in 2017 . 

Industrial Revolution

The first coal-fired power station in the United Kingdom was commissioned in 1882 during the industrial revolution. At the moment there are still seven coal-fired power stations active. According to the Carbon Brief website, these power stations have a combined capacity of 11 gigawatts. All coal-fired power stations must be closed by 2025 .

Less energy from coal

Preliminary figures from the British government show that the coal-fired power plants needed 6.7 million tonnes of coal in 2018 to generate energy. That is 24 percent lower than the demand in 2017, when 8.3 million tonnes of coal were still being burned. The total demand for coal in 2018 was 11.8 million tons; 17 percent lower than in 2017.

CO2 free in 2025

The British network operator ESO wants to be able to operate completely CO2-free in 2025. The energy network must be prepared for this in the coming years. “Working CO2-free means a fundamental change in how our system is intended,” says Fintan Slye, director of ESO.

For the energy supply, in the coming years we will mainly look at sustainable energy in combination with storage batteries. For example, a 50-megawatt storage battery is being developed at the city of Swindon . In the wind energy market, the United Kingdom has long been one of the larger European players.

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