Britain has first day without using coal since Industrial Revolution

Tareq Haddad
Sea surface temperatures

Britain has had its first ever working day without using coal power since the Industrial Revolution, official data shows.

Energy campaigners have heralded the achievement as a "watershed" moment as the country slowly weans itself off fossil fuels in favour of renewable sources.

Trending: Incredible pictures from 3,500-year-old tomb full of mummies

National Grid's control room confirmed the achievement on Friday (21 April), which marked the first continuous 24-hour period without using coal since fossil fuels were used for the first time.

"National Grid can confirm that for the past 24 hours, it has supplied GB's electricity demand without the need for coal generation," a spokesman said via Twitter.

Don't miss: New rocky exoplanet discovered lies in "habitable zone"

"[The] average generation mix so far has been gas 50.3%, nuclear 21.2%, wind 12.2%, imports 8.3%, biomass 6.7%, solar 3.6%.

"Of the 8.3% imports: 59.7% were from France, 36.8% were from the Netherlands, and 3.5% were from the Republic of Ireland."

Most popular: Earth Day 2017: All you need to know about the global campaign

Britain's reliance on coal has decreased substantially in recent years accounting for 9% of electricity generation in 2016 compared to 23% the year before.

Many coal plants have closed in recent years or have switched to burning biomass as part of a government plan to phase out fossil fuels to meet climate change commitments such as the Paris Agreement.

Greg Clark, the government's energy secretary, announced last year that Britain's last coal power station will be forced to close by 2025.

Britain has had previous spells where coal was not relied upon, but Friday marked the first full 24 hours.

Hannah Martin, head of energy at Greenpeace UK, applauded the achievement in a statement.

"The first working day without coal in Britain since the Industrial Revolution marks a watershed in the energy transition," she said.

"A decade ago, a day without coal would have been unimaginable, and in ten years' time our energy system will have radically transformed again."

Gareth Redmond-King, head of climate and energy at WWF, also celebrated the milestone but said more still needed to be done.

"Getting rid of coal from our energy mix is exciting and hugely important," he said. "But it's not enough to achieve our international commitments to tackle climate change – we haven't made anything like the same progress on decarbonising buildings and transport.

"Whoever forms the next government after the general election, they must prioritise a plan for reducing emissions from all sectors, which shows how the UK will continue to develop these changes and guarantee an environmentally clean and economically successful future for the UK."

You may be interested in:

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes