Great Britain has reached an impressive, and altogether green-focused, milestone, with the country getting through an entire fortnight without using coal to generate electricity for the first time since the industrial revolution.
This latest energy landmark comes just six weeks after the country went for seven days without using coal, an event which made headlines around the world. However, while these periods without coal are worthy of note, there is still far more that can, and will, be done
A history of coal
Coal has been a significant part of Great Britain’s energy mix for over 100 years. It was first used in 1882 in the central London borough of Holborn, and quickly rose to become a core element of the industrial revolution. And, though many coal mines were closed around the country during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, the material still made up around 40% of Great Britain’s electricity production in 2012.
However, in more recent times, coal has fallen in significance as Great Britain, along with many other countries throughout Europe, attempt to embrace a future of cleaner and greener energy production. In 2018, coal only made up around 5% of Great Britain’s energy mix, and it is becoming less and less relevant by the day.
The future of energy
With climate change becoming an increasingly hot topic, ambitious countries around the world are now choosing to utilise greener sources of energy production. In Great Britain, renewable energy options such as solar and wind, neither of which produce any carbon emissions, make up just over a quarter (28%) of the country’s energy mix. In fact, in 2018 renewables usage overtook fossil fuels for the first time, which is a true sign of intent.
And, with numerous sectors, industries and prominent companies also following suit and deciding to move away from activities and methods of production that create excess carbon, the future is going to become increasingly greener. Business energy is increasingly coming from renewables or natural gas, and with the government now making it even easier for companies to benefit from green initiatives, it is clear that we are moving in the right direction.
The end of coal
The government has declared that it has plans to close every remaining coal-fired power plant in Great Britain by 2025, which is an ambitious yet attainable target. Only seven coal plants currently remain operational, so the process of finding new ways to cope without utilising coal is picking up pace. And business will be at the very heart of ensuring uptake of cleaner energy.