Great Britain set a new record for sustainability: two months have passed in a row without burning coal. It is the longest period of electricity generation without the use of coal since 1880, thanks also to the lockdown against the pandemic.
And to think that in the collective imagination we see the English capital, London, pervaded by the fumes of chimneys and industries between the late 1800s and the early 1900s. Great Britain is the country that introduced coal-fired electricity to the world.
Britons celebrated two months of coal-free electricity generation some days ago the longest period in over 140 years. There are many factors that led to the historic announcement, the main ones are two: the collapse of energy demand linked to the blocking of activities due to the coronavirus, and since May, the sunniest ever recorded in the United Kingdom.
This allowed the Pasese to make greater use of the energies produced by renewable sources, such as wind and solar energy. In total, there were 61 days in the UK since the last coal generator disconnected from the grid. The period ended on 10th June 2020.
This long, carbon-free period broke the previous record of 18 days, six hours and 10 minutes, set in June 2019. These figures only apply to England, Wales and Scotland, as Northern Ireland is not part of the National Grid, the company that records the data and that disclosed the surprising results.
The future of energy
The low electricity prices made possible by the reduction in industrial demand, due to the blockade and taxes on carbon emissions, have made the operation of coal plants less and less profitable. Britain hopes to shut down all coal plants by 2024 as part of its efforts to achieve the zero emissions target by 2050.
Just 10 years ago, around 40% of the country's electricity came from coal . The use of renewable energy, such as wind and photovoltaic, increased during the closure of activities, since it often has lower operating costs than those of gas and coal plants.
The use of renewable energy has also exceeded coal in the United States for the first time in over 130 years. Hopefully this trend will become common all over the world and not only in the United Kingdom: the use of renewable energies and the cessation of the use of coal are a crucial point for the defense of the environment and the protection of the planet.
Reducing CO2 emissions is a mission that all government leaders should put at the top of the list of measures to be taken.