Is a world without fossil fuels turning out to be a reality? A study by Carbon Brief in the United Kingdom reveals that the gradual abandonment of coal is possible. For the first time last year, wind farms in UK produced more electricity than coal-powered plants.
Not later than in May 2016, it has been announced that energy from coal hits zero for first time ever in UK. The trend has been confirmed from the latest report produced by climate experts Carbon Brief. It reports that “the collapse of coal” is a “major turning point”. Environmental organizations have also welcomed the report which they termed as “fantastic”.
Three of the main thermal power stations have closed last year, causing a sharp drop in coal-fired power generation from 22.6 percent in 2015 to 9.2 percent in 2016. This has not been the case for the past 80 years. Wind power accounted for 11.5 percent of production in 2016, a slight decrease from 2015, accounting for 12 percent of the electricity produced. As for solar, it has generated more energy than coal over a period of six months, even replacing it entirely on certain days.
According to Simon Evans, editor-in-chief at Carbon Brief, 2016 has seen a year of firsts for the UK’s electricity system. “At the broadest level, the UK grid is changing as centralised power stations are joined by thousands of smaller sites, particularly renewables, as part of efforts to decarbonise electricity supplies”.
At the broadest level, the UK grid is changing as centralised power stations are joined by thousands of smaller sites.
There are also some other significant aspects to this fall like decrease in electricity demand, increase of imports from continental Europe and modifications in the relative price of coal and gas on wholesale energy markets.
While the UK government has committed to pulling out coal by 2025, as set out in its plan presented at COP22 in Marrakech, its last thermal power plant could close within the next five years; on or before 2022. The near abandonment of this polluting energy would help UK to meet its ambitious promises of reducing CO2 emissions by 34 percent by 2020 and by 80 percent by 2050.