Britain has now gone a week without using coal to generate electricity. It’s the first coal-free week since 1882, and two years after the UK had its first day without coal since the industrial revolution.
This is good news, as burning coal is one of the dirtiest forms of creating electricity. You can see what an achievement this is by going on to www.gridwatch.co.uk. The live electricity monitoring site shows at any time the most precise sources of the UK’s energy. Bang in the middle of the page is the dial that says Coal shows O GW.
Then look at the other dials to see where the 36.9 GW of total energy being consumed in the UK – at the time of writing – comes from. By far the biggest chunk of electricity is from CCGT, or gas, which provides around 42% of all electric power. Renewables are the source of 31.7%, made up largely of wind providing 20%, solar around 6.7% and biomass, around 4%. Another 6% or so comes from inter-connecters under the sea from the continent.