“A day without coal” in Britain?

It’s claimed the first “coal-free” day was achieved in the UK recently.

The National Grid has announced Britain’s first full day without coal power “since the Industrial Revolution”.

A combination of low demand for electricity and an abundance of wind meant the grid completed 24 hours relying on just gas, nuclear and renewables.

Engineers at the company said Friday marked a “historic” milestone in Britain’s shift away from carbon fuels, and that coal-free days would become increasingly common.

Use of the fossil fuel has significantly declined in recent years, accounting for just 9 per cent of electricity generation last year, down from 23 per cent in 2015, with the closure or conversion of coal plants.

The Government has pledged to phase out coal – the most polluting fossil fuel – from the system by 2025 as part of efforts to cut carbon emissions in the UK.

There’s more at the link.

That’s all very well . . . but it relies heavily on the right weather conditions to produce enough solar and wind power to make up for what coal-fired stations would have produced.  It also relies on having enough nuclear power stations available to generate what’s needed.  With older British nuclear power stations being closed, that won’t be the case for much longer – at least, not in the numbers needed.

I’ll be watching this with interest.  “Coal-free” days may be a Green‘s nirvana, but I suspect they won’t be as practical as they hope.



  1. They used very specific wording, probably for a reason: It almost certainly WASN'T a 'day without coal' – what it was was a day when no power from coal was used on the grid; while they don't say it, coal plants were more likely than not to have been on 'hot-standby' ready to provide power if the other sources went down, so coal was burned, just not to provide power to customers.

  2. +1 Jonathan H

    They also do not use the term "energy poverty", where skyrocketing energy rates force poor people to choose between food and heat. Energy rates in the UK are at least twice what they are in the US, mostly due to restrictions on cheap fossil fuels.

  3. I am in Ontario, Canada. We are now "coal-free".

    And our electricity rates, delivered, are probably the highest on the continent.

    Most of it comes from nuclear and water power, with gas plants to balance the higher load. BUT there are mandates for 20 year contracts to use the highest price solar and wind power *first*. (It so happens that the earlier contracts went to people connected to the party in power, typical Ontario Liberal sleaze).

    When the power use dropped in a mild winter, they raised the rates to keep their profits. When they have too much solar or wind, they sell to the USA at reduced rates. The cost difference makes up something they call the 'Global Adjustment'.

    There are lots of horror stories. Recently the National Post had an article about a small manufacturing plant with a monthly bill – it showed a $5000 cost for the electricity – but after the 'Global Adjustment', delivery, and taxes, the bill was over $40,000. For a month. I think that plant will soon be 'Globally Adjusted' to close or move out of the province.

    Our delivery agency "Ontario Hydro" is one of the worst public utilities in North America, as far as satisfying their customers. They can't do customer relations or billing errors, as they contracted that out). They can't set up new accounts in a timely fashion. When I had work done, I would get double-billed and have to argue with the idiots. A neighbor built a new pig barn and was connected but they wouldn't issue bills for a year 'cause its hard to do' or something – when he got his first bill, for a year of power, it was over $60,000 (about $5000 per month).

    The regulators have been replaced by cabinet ministers in the (Liberal) government, who careen around their portfolio like teenagers on drugs. A manager at a local distribution center was telling me about meeting some of these people. "Pompous, arrogant, and dicks' were his milder words. The rot runs deep.

    The head of government, a detestable woman named Kathleen Wynne, is desperately fighting this issue, by pushing out capital spending an extra 10-20 years (pushing out the costs, just like re-financing your house to a longer period – the total cost then goes up but the mortgage is smaller today). Bet the kids will love that. We're talking extra 100's of millions in interest.

    She also came up with a wacky scheme to pull 8% of the retail tax off the electrical bills, and put it into general spending (tax cost). Great for LIV (low-information voter), who dependably vote for Liberals.

    So being 'coal free' has not really been so great….

    As my wife says, it's like all the grownups have left government. You know, the responsible ones. The ones who didn't virtue signal with other people's money (save the planet! look how diverse our cabinet is now! bring in more refugees! Aren't we lovely people), while stabbing their own people in the back. Energy poverty is a real thing now, in a province that used to be rich.

  4. The Green activists don't care about practicality. They are perfectly fine with the peasants freezing in the dark.

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