British power logs first ever coal-free day

Via The Guardian:

Friday was Britain’s first ever working day without coal power since the Industrial Revolution, according to the National Grid.

The control room tweeted the milestone on Friday. It is the first continuous 24-hour coal-free period for Britain since use of the fossil fuel began. West Burton 1 power station, the only coal-fired plant that had been up and running, went offline on Thursday.

The UK has had shorter coal-free periods in 2016, as gas and renewables such as wind and solar play an increasing role in the power mix. The longest continuous period until now had been 19 hours – first achieved on a weekend last May, and matched on Thursday.

A National Grid spokesman said the record low was a sign of things to come, with coal-free days becoming increasingly common as the polluting fuel is phased out.

Coal has seen significant declines in recent years, accounting for just 9% of electricity generation in 2016, down from around 23% the year before, as coal plants closed or switched to burning biomass such as wood pellets.

Britain’s last coal power station will be forced to close in 2025, as part of a government plan to phase out the fossil fuel to meet its climate change commitments.

In part, hilariously made possible by Australian LNG as it displaces Qatari gas from Asia to Europe. While here we mull more coal because we can’t afford our own gas.


  1. Jake GittesMEMBER

    It can’t be. The entire Australian political class may be forced to think for once.

  2. Coal is our future … once we have exported all our gas! 300 years of coal reserves, makes us the lucky country.

  3. I read that PM Thatcher did the horrific act of pouring cement down mine shafts in order to hurt unions and prevent British coking coal from being mined ever again.

    Can coal mines in Wales/England be opened again? Because the Conservatives, yep the same party, want Britain to keep making steel.

    • ResearchtimeMEMBER

      Don’t believe anything you read and only half of what you see… the above was true, coal seams that outcrop on surface in Wales dip ever increasing depths by the time it reaches Yorkshire. many were mined out, many were totally uneconomic. Some were just cemented. Bad things happen in war.

      Given coal fired power stations cannot turn off or on (many on the scale of days), quickly at all… take the above article with a deserved grain of salt.

      • I was thinking this. Coal plants can never really “turn off” as the furnaces would cool and become unusable. So they must be burning some fuel – the minimum required – to keep the furnaces warm.Might as well generate power then…

        Still, what happens when a coal power plant need 3-6 months worth of maintenance? They just keep the furnaces warm the whole time?