• Britain goes two months without coal-fired power, marking remarkable transition away from the fuel

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

The BBC has reported on how Britain has not generated any power from coal firing for two months, a first since the beginning of the industrial revolution, beating the previous record of 18 days, 6 hours and 10 minutes, set in June 2019. A number of factors have contributed – lower electricity demand during COVID-19-induced restrictions, additional renewable power generation capacity being available, and weather conducive to generating power from renewables. As the article notes, the period without coal is reflective of the huge change that has occurred to Britain’s power sector over the last decade – around 40% of the area’s power came from coal just 10 years ago, and just 3% from wind and solar. Over the past decade, wind and solar have expanded hugely, particularly wind, with the UK now having the biggest offshore wind industry in the world, while Drax, previously the largest consumer of coal in the UK, has shifted to firing wood pellets. This year, 37% of electricity has been generated from renewable resources, 35% from fossil fuels, 18% from nuclear, and the remaining ~10% has been imported, raising the prospect that renewables will for the first time this year be the largest source of electricity.