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UK Goes A Day Without Coal

This is the first time this has happened since the industrial revolution!

Make sure you get your GWO working at heights training courses set up as soon as possible, as wind energy is booming, it would seem.

In fact, it is now so prolific in the UK that the country had its first day without coal-fired energy since the industrial revolution.

Fossil fuel use has significantly declined in recent years, and accounted for just nine per cent of electricity generation last year. This is despite it making up 23 per cent of energy generation in 2015, due to the closure or conversion of coal plants. The government hopes to phase out coal-fired power stations by 2025 in order to reduce overall carbon emissions, as part of its climate change targets.

Gas fuel remains the main source of our energy with the majority of our fuel coming from gas, however. Recent moves to increase fracking use in the UK have contributed towards this.

Britain became the first country to use coal for electricity in 1882 when Thomas Edison opened the Holborn Viaduct power station. The Observer reported that “a hundred weight of coal properly used will yield 50 horse power for an hour” at the time, and that a horse power “will supply at least a light equivalent to 150 candles”.

Cordi O’Hara, Director of System Operator told the BBC: “To have the first working day without coal since the start of the industrial revolution is a watershed moment in how our energy system is changing. The UK benefits from highly diverse and flexible sources of electricity.

"Our energy mix continues to change and National Grid adapts system operation to embrace these changes. However, it’s important to remember coal is still an important source of energy as we transition to a low carbon system.”

The watershed moment happened on Good Friday because of low demand over the Easter holidays, and high wind and sunny conditions which meant that renewable energy production was higher than average. Gas, nuclear, biomass and solar energy were all used, in addition to wind power on that day.

Previously the longest the UK has gone without coal-fired fuel was 19 hours, earlier this year in February.

It is hoped that wind energy will go some way to producing a lot of the energy shortfall from, along with nuclear and gas fired energy. Renewable energy has made up 25 per cent of the UK’s energy since 2015.

As you will know, Scotland is on track to become one of the leading wind-energy producing countries in the world due to its 2,683 wind turbines currently in operation, and nearly 300 more currently in production. Denmark currently holds the crown for the highest wind energy produced per square meter but this could easily be overtaken by Scotland when it latest round of turbine building is over. There are also more wind farm building projects in the pipe line. 

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