For the first time in over a hundred years, Britain has gone for a record two months without using coal energy. This new milestone is due in part to the coronavirus pandemic and investment in renewable energy. A decade ago, almost half of the country’s energy was coal-based. Britain is changing this narrative by adopting renewable sources of energy.
Midnight on June 10 marked two straight months since the country last used coal energy. Due to the coronavirus lockdown, power demand in the entire country went down. As a result, Britain closed the only four remaining coal power plants.
According to a BBC publication, 40% of Britain’s power supply was coal-based just 10 years ago. However, a drastic shift to renewable energy has allowed for this coal-free energy record. In ten years, Britain has transformed from wind and solar generating only 3% of the country’s electricity to having renewables account for 37% of the total energy supplied.
Britain has stepped up to become home to the largest offshore wind industry in the world. Drax, Britain’s biggest power plant, has been gradually shifting to renewable energy. According to Will Gardiner, CEO of Drax, the company has put in place a plan that fully eliminates coal power. “We here at Drax decided that coal was no longer the future,” said Gardiner.
Britain’s green energy achievements may give hope to any country striving to eliminate coal. Though there are still many steps left for ending coal energy usage worldwide, Gardiner expects renewable energy to overtake fossil fuels in 2020. This prediction may not be far off, according to Dr. Simon Evans of Carbon Brief.
“So far this year renewables have generated more electricity than fossil fuels and that’s never happened before,” said Evans. Given that coronavirus has slowed down global energy consumption, now may be the time for each nation to make progress towards cleaner energy.
Via BBC News
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