Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Air Quality

Britain Saying Goodbye To Coal, Sunlight & Wind Climb From 3% To 37% In One Decade

Good bye, coal. Hello to natural sunlight being our dominant form of energy again.

Good bye, coal. Hello to natural sunlight being our dominant form of energy again.

In many ways, the 20 century was about coal, but the 21st century is not. The collapse, the demise, of coal is undeniable. Britain recently measured a milestone toward that end. The country has gone two full months without burning coal. No need to generate power with coal, and they have shown this is possible.

BBC has some highlights of the collapse, visually capturing the detonation to retire a fossil fuel plant that has “seen its day.” The damage that “day” has done makes the closure a charm, and a sigh of relief — leaving the past behind.

Susan Kucera presents the center point of change in her documentary Living in the Future’s Past while filming Jeff Bridges, who highlights the odd use of fossil sunlight: “We’re mining this ancient sunlight from mining a very brief period of human history.” When we mind fossil fuels, we do so to get energy out of them that essentially came from the sunlight of another time period. Why not just use today’s sunlight?

Dr. Nathan Hagens, Director of the Institute for the Study of Energy and Our Future, explains how we are now:

“A chemical composition of 50% of the protein in our bodies. 80% nitrogen in our bodies indirectly comes from the chemical signature of this fossil sunlight that we are mining. So we are different than our ancestors. They were made of sunlight, we are made of fossil fuels.”

He creates the term “fossil slaves,” noting that “fossils slaves poop and breathe, and their breath is causing our biosphere to warm up and our oceans to acidify.”

Good bye, coal. Hello to the possibility of sunlight becoming our prime direct energy source again.

A decade ago, about 40% of the Britain’s electricity came from coal. Now, it has gone absent for two months. BBC notes that the coronavirus crisis helped the National Grid to respond to our changing times by taking power plants off the network.

“The four remaining coal-fired plants were among the first to be shut down. The last coal generator came off the system at midnight on 9 April. No coal has been burnt for electricity since.”

Indeed, this last decade has changed our energy habits. Now the crisis can accelerate the transition, the transformation can grow more forcefully  to leave the damages from our old energy system in the past.

Thanks to leaders like London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, the coming decade promises not only retiring coal, but also cars being driven without any petrol. 

BBC highlights two examples illustrate just how much the UK’s energy networks have changed. “A decade ago just 3% of the country’s electricity came from wind and solar, which many people saw as a costly distraction.” Now they supply 37% or so. Nuclear accounted for 18% in 2019.

The world is entering a golden era for floating wind. And the UK has the biggest offshore wind industry in the world. And more, there is also the largest single wind farm, off the coast of Yorkshire. There’s still a lot of room for improvement.

“So far this year renewables have generated more electricity than fossil fuels and that’s never happened before,” says Dr Simon Evans of Carbon Brief.

“With gas also in decline, there’s a real chance that renewables will overtake fossil fuels in 2020 as a whole.

“The decline in the role of fossil fuels in general and coal in particular looks set to continue. The remaining three coal plants in the UK will be shut down within five years. Then the fuel that sparked the industrial revolution here in Britain almost two centuries ago will be a thing of the past.”

Top/featured photo by Zach Shahan

Related stories:

Check out our brand new E-Bike Guide. If you're curious about electric bikes, this is the best place to start your e-mobility journey!
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? 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

Cynthia Shahan started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. (Several unrelated publications) She is a licensed health care provider. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education, mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings born with spiritual insights and ethics beyond this world. (She was able to advance more in this way led by her children.)


You May Also Like


The automobile assembly and motor vehicle component manufacturing industry is a critical pillar of the South African economy. Before the Covid19 pandemic, South Africa’s...


UK airlines were allowed to pollute for free and given subsidies via the UK’s flagship scheme to reduce carbon emissions, new study finds. The...


Chris Ramsey will drive a Nissan Ariya E-4ORCE from the North Pole to the South Pole in March 2023. He sat down with me...

Clean Power

The rich wind resources of Ireland are fostering a green hydrogen boom, with green ammonia for good measure.

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.