UK set for another coal-free energy record

When the clock strikes midnight on Wednesday, Britain will have gone a record two months without coal-fired power generation.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a reduction in energy use throughout the business world but the lack of demand for energy only partly explains the trend.

The increased affordability and availability of renewables is a major reason why fossil fuels have fallen out of favour as the U.K. strives to meet its net-zero carbon commitments.

Once the backbone of the National Grid with up to 40 per cent of electricity generated from this source a decade ago, coal has made way to solar and wind.

In the case of Drax Power Station, coal has been ceded for wood pellets.

“We here at Drax decided that coal was no longer the future,” Will Gardiner, the chief executive of the power group, told the BBC.

“It has been a massive undertaking and then the result of all that is we’ve reduced our CO2 emissions from more than 20 million tonnes a year to almost zero.”

The last coal generator came off the system at midnight on 9 April. No coal has been burnt for electricity since.

The previous record coal-free period was  18 days, 6 hours and 10 minutes which was set in June last year.