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Britain goes a day without coal-fired power for first time since the 1880s

Britain goes a day without coal-fired power for first time since the 1880s


Natural gas, nuclear, wind, biomass, solar

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Coal Industry Hopes For A Boost As Trump Rolls Back Obama-Era Regulations
Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

Great Britain has gone an entire day without using electricity produced from coal for the first time since the industrial revolution says National Grid, the country’s energy utility.

The country has gone without coal-produced power numerous times before, but never for an entire day. Instead, the country used power produced from natural gas (50.3 percent), nuclear (21.2 percent), wind (12.2 percent), imports from other countries (8.3 percent), biomass (6.7 percent), and solar (3.6 percent) to power the country on April 21st. The numbers provided by National Grid don’t total to 100 percent because of power exports to other countries and hydro production.

In 2015, coal accounted for 22 percent of the UK’s power generation, though that was a decrease of 7.3 percent below where it was in 2014, with natural gas and nuclear making up most of the rest. Numbers are similar in the US: in 2015, coal, natural gas, and nuclear made up 33 percent, 33 percent, and 20 percent of US electricity production respectively — though Great Britain is a bit ahead on the renewables front.

President Trump campaigned on loosening restrictions on coal fired power plants and coal mining, and said he was “putting an end to the war on coal” when he signed an executive order halting the US government’s efforts to fight climate change. The order rolled back restrictions on the amount of CO2 emissions made by fossil fuel-fired power plants, which are the largest concentrated source of such emissions in the country.