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UK goes record week without using any coal power

The UK has gone seven days without burning any coal to generate electricity – the longest stretch without the fossil fuel since the Industrial Revolution.

According to the National Grid, as of 1pm today the UK had been producing energy for 167 hours without coal power plants supplying any at all.

Instead, the majority of the country’s power has come from combined cycle gas turbines, with renewable, nuclear, and solar power also contributing significantly to meeting the demand.

The breakdown is:

The last time coal was burned to produce power was around noon on 1 May, when coal supplied a small amount of power to support the grid.

In general, coal power plants are increasingly being sidelined in the British energy sector.

There will be no electricity in the UK supplied by coal power at all by 2025, and the government believes the last coal plant in the UK could close as early as 2022 due to emissions charges.

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In a statement, the business and energy secretary Greg Clark praised the achievement.

“Going a week without coal for the first time since the Industrial Revolution is a huge leap forward in our world-leading efforts to reduce emissions, but we’re not stopping there.

“To combat climate change and seize on the opportunities of clean growth, we’re phasing out coal entirely by 2025 and building a cleaner, greener energy system.

“We lead the world when it comes to tackling climate change and we want to carry on breaking records, which is why we’ve put foundations in place to allow our renewables sector to thrive.

“We’re now on a path to become the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions,” Mr Clark added.

A spokesperson for the National Grid told Bloomberg: “As more and more renewables come onto our energy system, coal-free runs like this are going to increasingly seem like the new normal.

“We believe that by 2025 we will be able to fully operate Great Britain’s electricity system with zero carbon.”

Reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 was one of the calls from the Extinction Rebellion, alongside a citizen’s assembly to oversee the changes necessary to achieve this.

The record comes shortly after the rebellion’s enormous climate change protest in London, during the course of which more than 1,000 people were arrested.

Extinction activists brought 10 days of disruptive protests to an end two weeks ago with a closing ceremony in Hyde Park.

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