Powering ahead with a coal-free fortnight
The UK set a record recently for the longest spell without using any coal-fired power station since the Victorian era.
National Grid reported that it had achieved the first ever fortnight without burning the polluting fuel for the UK’s electricity system.
This was achieved just a month after the country went its first week without coal. It shows the dramatic decline of the fuel that was the backbone of the electricity system for more than 137 years after the first coal power plant was opened in 1882 at Holborn Viaduct in London.
“This is excellent news and perhaps the message about the threat of global warming is at last getting through to everyone,” said expert Ron Fox, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science Innovation Park.
He was commenting on dramatic figures showing that coal accounted for 35 per cent of supplies only as recently as 2013. Now this figure has plummeted to 5 per cent last year because of the rise of wind turbines, solar panels and the burning of biomass wood chips.
“The problem,” said Ron, “is that burning coal emits carbon dioxide that causes climate change. The decline has been hastened by Britain’s carbon tax that penalised coal more than cleaner burning gas and the regulations that forced the closure of power plants.”
Electricity generated from gas is the largest source at 39 per cent with nuclear second at 20 per cent. But renewables accounted for more than 28 per cent with wind farms third at a record 13.5 per cent, biomass 7.6 per cent and solar 7.1 per cent. The only other significant source was the interconnector at 11.8 per cent which is the import of electricity via underwater cables from other European countries.
Interestingly, the UK now has the largest offshore wind capacity on the planet.
There are only six coal plants left in Britain and one of those is scheduled to close this year. And the Government has promised to shut the others down by 2025 unless the companies have the technology to capture carbon emissions.
Ron said: “The good news is that 2018 was our greenest year to date and so far 2019 is looking that it will beat that. As more and more renewables come on to the system, we’re seeing things progress at an astonishing rate.”
But he said there’s one way that residents could cut their carbon footprint and their energy bills further and that is by installing solar panels.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels capture energy from the sun, which in turn is converted into electricity for your home.
He said the sunlight is free, so there’s no more nasty surprises from utility firms putting up their prices.
Also, the panels are an environmentally-friendly way to provide electricity, central heating and hot water. They are easy to install and have low maintenance costs.
For more information on green energy such as solar panels, solar assisted heat pumps and solar thermal panels contact Ron on 0845 474 6641 or go to www.noreus.co.uk