- On May 26, 2019 Britain had been running on coal free power for 194 hours with solar contributing 14.7% to the energy mix
- Gas, another fossil fuel commanded 36.4% share and nuclear sent another 21.5% to the grid
- On May 28, 2019 another tweet from the operator said Britain had been without coal power for 10 days and it expected the situation to persist for a fortnight
The British National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) tweeted on May 26, 2019 that the region had crossed 194 hours without coal power supply to the grid with the hashtag #nocoalweek.
While solar provided 14.7% to the electricity mix, gas supplied the bulk with a 36.4% share, followed by nuclear power sending 21.5% to the grid. Biomass added another 8.3%, while wind contributed 5.9%. Hydro power’s share was 0.2% and imported electricity was 13.1%.
By the time this report was published another tweet had come informing that the 194-hour mark had been crossed and Britain was going without coal power for 258 hours, in other words 10 days and 18 hours. The ESO added that by the way things are going, the region ‘may even get to a #coalfreefortnight’.
The BBC pointed out in a May 8 report that it was the first coal free week Britain experienced in its power demand since 1882. It also added that coal is now less than 10% of Grat Britain’s power output. The country wants to completely do away with coal fired power plants by 2025.
Hailing Grat Britain over this achievement, Australian news portal RenewEconomy rued the fact that its home country couldn’t spend a day without coal under any current or near-term scenarios. The country has brought back into power a government that at best has been seen as an opponent of further renewables growth (see Australia Coalition Stays In Power).
According to the British Solar Trade Association, the United Kingdom reached a solar power generation peak of 9.55 GW on May 14, 2019. While the UK is geographically not exactly the same as Grat Britain, the association demands the government to accord solar a ‘level playing field with other technologies’ so that it can thrive without public support.
According to SolarPower Europe’s Global Market Outlook released in May 2019, the United Kingdom had 12.96 GW of cumulative installed solar power capacity in 2018 and expects it to cross 15 GW in 2023 under its medium scenario. It 2018, its PV market was less than 300 MW (see SolarPower Europe: 800 GW New PV By 2023).