In July the UK’s remaining coal-fired power plants made their smallest contribution to Britain’s electricity supply for 135 years. The proportion of coal-fired generation in the power mix fell to an average of 2% of the total power generated over the month, according to Aurora Research. The equivalent figure for July 2015 was 22%, and for July 2016 it was 4%. For the whole of 2016 it averaged 9%, down from 23% the previous year.
Richard Howard, Aurora Energy’s head of research said the July average of 2pc is sharply down from over 50pc as recently as November 2012.
Aurora’s data for July shows that gas-fired power made up 40% of the UK’s electricity supply, while nuclear power accounted for 32%. 2017 continues to be a record breaking year for low carbon emissions. In April that the UK went without coal-fired power for 24 hours for the first time since the industrial revolution.
The government has undertaken to phase out coal entirely from 2025 as part of its policy to cut carbon emissions in the UK. Around 8.4 GW of coal generation capacity has already closed since 2010, of which almost half shutdown last year with the closure of Scottish Power’s Longannet plant, SSE’s Ferrybridge C and the Rugeley plant which is owned by Engie. Only nine coal-fired power plants remain.