On the midnight of 10th June 2020, Britain will be crossing a massive landmark in its energy production and consumption. It will have gone two months without using coal, as renewable forms of energy replaced fossil fuels.
This period is the biggest ever since the 1880s and has far surpassed the previous record of 18 days, 6 hours and 10 minutes, which was set in June last year.
And how did Britain achieve this seemingly impossible feat?
When the lockdown was imposed in Britain due to the coronavirus pandemic, the demand was electricity greatly reduced due to factories, industries, and most commercial spaces being shut down. The National Grid, as a result, took power plants off its network, shutting down the coal-driven plants first. The last of the coal-fired plants was closed on the midnight of 9th April 2020, and none of them have been used since.
This data applies only to Great Britain – England, Wales, and Scotland. North Ireland does not belong to the National Grid.
This is remarkable and a fantastic move towards sustainable forms of energy considering that coal plants emit close to double the amount of carbon dioxide that gas-based plants do.
Also, according to the National Grid, May was the greenest-ever month for Britain in terms of electricity production, with the lowest average carbon intensity on record at 143 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour.
The government of Britain intends to reach net zero emission by 2050, and to reach this goal, it aims to close all its coal plants by 2024.
However, Britain is not the only nation that has seen an increase in its renewable energy consumption in the past few months. The United States of America also witnessed renewable energy overtake coal – the first time in more than 130 years that this has occurred.
Isn’t this a great silver lining to the pandemic? Will this be a start for a move into renewable sources of energy? What do you think? Do let us know your views in the comments section below.