A day without coal


_95742504_3acbc725-f3dd-4d7e-900c-2647e93e5919 Figure 1: Contribution of coal to the UK national grid 15-21st of April 2017 [Source: National Grid] On Friday, the UK went a full 24 hours with all of its coal fired power stations turned off. The first time the UK has operated without coal since the industrial revolution. Indeed coal has been an important energy source in the UK since the 1600’s. So this is a bit of a mile stone.

That said, it needs to be put in the proper context. The UK coal industry has been in decline for quite some time now. Even before Thatcher’s confrontation with the unions, coal was in decline. More recently quite a few of the UK’s coal fired power plants have begun to convert to co-firing with biomass. And coal fired power stations are increasingly used only for load following or peak load power. And naturally, late April is a time of…

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