What’s Going On Here?

On 10th June 2020, Britain marked the longest time (ever!) generating electricity without coal.

What Does This Mean?

When Britain went into lockdown, electricity demand plummeted to that of the 80’s (when there were 10 million less of us!). The National Grid forecasted a 20% fall below the normal level and right now our daily electricity demand profile on a weekday is looking more like a weekend in ‘normal life’.

And as a result of lower demand and government-led charges on emissions, The National Grid stopped generating from the last four coal-fired plants 2 months ago. The longest stretch done previously was 18 days in June 2019 and to put it all in perspective, about 40% of our electricity was coal-powered ten years ago.

Why Should We Care?

Recently, we’ve been lucky enough to have some very sunny, windy weather which has boosted our solar and wind generation and together with our lower demand has enabled us to rely on more renewable energy sources.

We haven’t said farewell to fossil fuels entirely as we are still burning natural gas. However, so far this year, renewables have generated more power than all fossil fuels put together. At this rate, 2020 could be the year that renewables overtook fossil fuels.

There are longer-term plans to close all of Britain’s coal plants by 2024 to help meet the government’s net-zero emissions goal by 2050.

Be Curious!

  • As always, practice energy saving and efficiency and you’ll help keep this low demand going. If you’re feeling nerdy, you can actually check in on Britain’s real-time generation data here.
  • Check how much renewable energy your supplier produces by looking at its fuel mix information on their website and if you’re not happy, Which? reported their top 3 green energy suppliers to be: EcotricityGreen Star & Good Energy, which aren’t even any more expensive.