Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



Great Britain Goes A Fortnight Without Coal

As of writing, Great Britain has currently gone a whole fortnight without generating any electricity from coal, smashing all previous records and ringing the death knell for the country’s coal industry. 

Great Britain will have gone a whole fortnight without generating any electricity from coal by the time you read this article, smashing all previous records and ringing the death knell for the country’s coal industry.

Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station, England
Image Credit: Alan Murray-Rust

We’ve already seen that this latest record is unlike those that have come before it as, on Wednesday, the hours without coal surpassed 281 hours, nearing 12 days without generating any electricity from coal. The article was written under the assumption that coal would kick back at any moment, and it was worth highlighting the new record. Great Britain has been steadily extending its “hours without coal” record for several weeks, now, and it was assumed that the new record would hover around the 12-day mark.

Well … you know what happens when you assume things.

As of writing, Great Britain has now surpassed 14 days without generating any electricity from coal — that’s 336 hours. Further, National Grid — the country’s grid manager — announced with hours to spare that “Great Britain’s electricity system will pass the fortnight mark for no coal generation this afternoon!”

Additionally, this means that Britain has enjoyed more coal-free hours this month (679 hours) than it did for the whole of 2017 (624 hours).

“This new milestone demonstrates yet again that wind has become a mainstream power source for the UK, generating 17% of our annual electricity needs,” said RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Emma Pinchbeck, when asked for comment. “Renewables overall are playing a leading role in our energy mix, providing a third of our power  – and have been crucial to phasing out dirty coal.”

“Ending the use of coal is just the beginning of a move away from fossil fuels to low carbon sources, to avoid the enormous risks of climate disruption. The Government’s adviser, the Committee on Climate Change, has said that we can only achieve net-zero emissions with a massive increase in renewables. The Government has been told to act now to build on the coal phase-out, investing in our world-leading renewable industry and the jobs it brings, including technologies which are currently absent from Government policy, from innovative wave and tidal power to cheap onshore wind.”

“Coal was the backbone of the last industrial revolution – but this old technology is being beaten by wind energy, the powerhouse of our 21st Century economy,” Pinchbeck added in a separate press release published by RenewableUK on the back of National Grid’s announcement. “Renewables are providing well over a third of our electricity today, and this is just the beginning. We need to move from fossil fuels right across the economy to avoid the enormous risks of climate disruption and to benefit from modern, clean, technologies.

“But the Government’s scientific advisors say that we can only achieve a net zero economy with a massive increase in renewable electricity to power the change. We need to act now to build on the coal phase-out and our world-leading renewables industry, including technologies like innovative wave and tidal power and fantastically cheap onshore wind.”

“The UK started the industrial revolution with coal, and after 140 years, we’re showing that coal is obsolete,” said Dustin Benton of the UK’s Green Alliance, when reached for comment. “By 2025, the UK will see not just coal power plants shut permanently, but periods without any fossil fuelled electricity at all. This is not just a British story. The lesson for coal companies worldwide is that clean energy, efficiency and demand response are both cheaper and better. The lesson for governments is that it’s past time to plan a just transition for workers in the fossil fuel industry: clean energy jobs are the future.”

“Thanks to rapidly improving renewable technology and increased energy efficiency, coal is becoming a bit player in the UK electricity mix,” added Jack Dobson-Smith, a spokesperson for the UK Solar Trade Association. “Solar has certainly played a significant part, with this month also seeing the solar generation peak record tumble. We can expect many more coal-free days in the future, and solar’s contribution to these will rise with an anticipated 4-7GW set to be deployed over the next four years, with no need for subsidy. This transition to a clean energy future is essential if we are to tackle the climate emergency, and rising investment in solar will drive green jobs and skills for years to come.”

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.


#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.


Support our work today!


Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports


EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats


Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Clean Transport

I recently discovered Camptoo, “the Airbnb of camper vans” or “Airbnb on wheels,” when our good friend and occasional CleanTechnica writer Jacek Fior told...

Air Quality

Originally published on Transport & Environment. By Eoin Bannon The average British car sits parked for more than 95% of the time, and when used rarely...


In response to evidence that it may be worse for the climate than burning coal and gas, the EU is considering tightening rules governing...


Volvo Cars and Volkswagen are the only major carmakers ready to switch to electric in line with Europe’s net zero climate target, according to...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.