The chart above shows the stunning phase-out of coal from the UK’s electricity generating mix. Up until 2013 coal was routinely responsible for over 50% of the UK’s electricity generation depending on the time of day.
However, that share has now declined so dramatically, that in 2019 it’s normal to go days at a time with coal being responsible for 0% of the UK’s electricity generation.
The guardian also has a website which tracks coal-free runs and inspired the chart above.
Although before getting too excited reddit user KingOfTheKeyboard points out that:
This might get buried under the comments, but I work in the industry and feel obliged to comment that the information that national grid’s system operator have been releasing is incredibly misleading. Although this data is technically correct, during the “zero percent” periods, coal was still being burned in power stations.
I know for a fact that national grid actually instructed coal power stations to run during this period, but to NOT generate electricity whilst they were running. As in, yes, coal was still being burned during this time based on the instruction from the electricity network operator. I know this for a fact from contacts at one of the power plants in question.
The reason is because they need to keep these power stations ‘warm’ so that, in the event of the failure of the grid (known as a ‘black start’), they can quickly ramp up to restore the grid. If they are cold they cannot do this quickly enough, which would prolong the blackout.
The information that has been released by national grid is misleading – maybe to get some good PR in light of the threat that they will be re-nationalised.
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