A month of coal-free energy generation marked in Britain


NEW record for longest period of coal-free electricity generation in Britain has been confirmed by National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO).

The previous record of 18 days, 6 hours and 10 minutes – set in June last year – was broken at 6.10am yesterday morning, marking over 438 hours and 10 minutes since the last coal generator came off the system at midnight on Thursday 9 April.

Fintan Slye, director of ESO, commented on the announcement: “2020 is shaping up to be a record-breaking year for Great Britain’s electricity system, and I’ve little doubt we’ll see more exciting developments as the growth and performance of renewables continues to transform our grid at an astonishing rate.

“Within a matter of days we’ve seen a new solar generation record, and the longest period of coal-free operation in Britain.

“And that follows two of the greenest months on record at the start of the year, underlining the progress that’s being made towards our target of being able to operate the electricity system entirely with zero carbon sources by 2025.

“We’ve been planning, investing in the system and working with industry for years to make sure we’re ready to run a coal-free system with an increasing share of renewables, introducing new technologies and more intelligent ways of using energy to make sure the system is flexible and resilient to the challenges that decarbonisation brings.

“A zero carbon grid is a stretching target, but it’s crucially important – and milestones like our latest coal-free run show that Great Britain is leading the world in transitioning to net zero.”

April 2020 has already been a record-breaking month for renewable electricity in Great Britain, with a new solar generation record of 9.68GW set at 1.30pm last Monday (April 20).

Weather continues to play the central role in determining the mix of electricity, but reduced levels of electricity demand play a role too.

Lockdown measures in place since late March have seen a significant reduction in demand across the country, with an increase in domestic consumption being outweighed by reduced industrial demand.

The change in demand, along with frequent sunny and windy spells across the country, are all contributing factors to the latest records.