The decline of coal

Great Britain’s electricity system saw its first coal-free week for over 100 years this May (2019). At the time of publishing, we are in a second coal-free period which now stands at over two weeks.

This month’s graphic of the month, therefore, depicts the changing proportion of coal-fired generation on the electricity system. The moving wave in the graphic shows changing GB electricity demand since 2015, and the proportion of that demand met by coal-fired generation. As can be seen, heavy-polluting coal has been pushed to operate only in periods of high demand, displaced by cheaper renewable and gas generation.

So, is coal going for good? Though it seems like it is on its way out, a continued commitment to a strict UK carbon price is needed to ensure this decarbonisation continues.

Coal Generation Over Time

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