Britain just set a new record: 55 hours without using the dirtiest fossil fuel out there

For 55 hours, not a speck of coal was used to toast crumpets in England. How did the U.K. give up the dirtiest fossil fuel?

Britain pulls off 55 hours of coal-free power! (Source: National Grid Data. Image: Bloomberg)

Between 10:25 pm on Monday and 5:10 am Thursday, no coal was used by power stations in the U.K. It’s a record


Great Britain has just gone 48+ hours without any coal generation.

— National Grid Control Room (@NGControlRoom) April 18, 2018

How was it able to accomplish this? I knew you’d ask. 

The U.K. was a very early adopter of renewable energy sources and it has more offshore wind turbines installed than anybody else. Here’s the breakdown of what it used for energy during that period:

On Wednesday #gas produced 31.6% of British electricity followed by wind 25.1%, nuclear 20.2%, solar 7.6%, imports 7.4%, biomass 5.2%, hydro 1.4%, storage 1.2%, other 0.4%, coal 0.0%, national demand 779 GWh

— National Grid Control Room (@NGControlRoom) April 19, 2018


Turbines of the new Burbo Bank offshore wind farm in the mouth of the River Mersey on May 12,
2008 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

National Grid director of U.K. system operations Fintan Slye made the announcement: “We have set a new record by operating the electricity system without coal for just under 55 hours. The U.K. benefits from highly diverse and flexible sources of electricity and our energy mix continues to change. National Grid adapts the system operation to embrace these changes.”

We could do that right here in the good ol’ US of A if we put our minds to it. Oh, and a little bit of financial backing. 

It’s only the latest record for the country: 40.5 coal-free hours were logged during the last few days of October 2017. It’s only going to get better from here; the country’s coal-fired plants are due to be phased out in 2025.  

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