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First continuous coal-free period since the Industrial Revolution

Posted on Wed 3rd May, 2017 in: Coal

First continuous coal-free period since the Industrial Revolution

Friday 21st April was the first continuous 24-hour coal-free period in electricity production history. Coal plants either closed or switched to burning biomass such as wood pellets. This was the first time the country has been without electricity from coal since the world's first coal-fired public generator opened in 1882 in London. Coal is the most polluting fossil fuel, and it has seen a major decline in recent years, accounting for just 9% of electricity production in 2016. This has decreased from around 23% the year before, due to coal plants which have closed or switched to burning biomass fuels. The electricity grid has been coal-free several times since last spring, as gas and renewables such as wind and solar energy are playing a larger role in providing the country with power. However, before the 24 hour switch off, the longest continuous coal-free period was 19 hours, which was in a weekend last May. In order to cut carbon emissions in the UK, the Government has pledged to phase out coal by 2025. The Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire was the last working coalmine in the UK, which closed in December 2015, putting an end to deep-pit coal mining in Britain.

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