Coal fired generation in the UK at a new low

4 September 2019

The proportion of power generated by coal fired plant in the UK hit a record low of 0.7% in the period April to June this year. New statistics published by the government show that coal fired generation is now a record 63% lower than during the same period in 2018.

The reduction, according to a spokesman for the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, follows its “sustained support for renewable energy”, which forms part of its policy to phase out coal by 2025.

So far in 2019 the UK has gone more than 3000 hours without using coal to generate electricity, nearly five times the total for the whole of 2017.

Renewable sources covered most of the reduction, jumping by 12%. The figure was boosted particularly by offshore wind production which rose by a quarter after the 588 MW Beatrice wind farm in Scotland started up during the summer.

In 2018 more than half of the UK’s power came from low carbon sources, with a third produced by renewables, up from 29.2% the previous year.

The government also highlights that 99% of the UK’s current solar capacity has been brought online since 2010, with photovoltaic generation rising to a record 12.9 TWh in 2018, 12% up on 2017.

This year three major energy companies have announced plans to close coal-fired power plants in the UK, which would leave only four remaining after the coming winter. RWE said this month it would close the Aberthaw B power station in south Wales, its last UK coal plant, after the winter. SSE will close the Fiddler’s Ferry plant near Warrington, Cheshire, in March 2020, and EDF Energy will shutter the Cottam coal plant in September.



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