18 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes. These numbers are going down in Britain’s renewable energy journals as a record for coal-free electricity production.
Despite a lockdown stalling the global economy, the nation set a new record for producing all its power from renewables last month. While decreased demand has certainly played a role, it isn’t the first such achievement for this green power hub.
Britain previously set a record for coal independence last year, powering solely on renewables for 18 days, 6 hours and 10 minutes. These goals have boosted the country’s morale, and given authorities enough encouragement to assert that coal is now becoming ‘irrelevant’ for the UK National Grid.
That’s a pretty powerful statement from a region that’s known in history for the mighty industrial revolution.
Does that make coal mines and miners irrelevant too? Not really. Creative renovations have helped turn decades old mines into museums. And expert miners are gearing up to educate throngs of curious 8th graders about the decline of this power-fuel.
Offshore Winds Blow Renewable Energy Change in Britain
UK’s target of net zero emissions isn’t just a dream. The nation has worked towards it tirelessly – making it the first major world economy to broadcast this goal. True to this target, Britain has gone from a 70% reliance on coal in 1990 to a mere 3% today.
What’s more impressive? The fact that fueling this change is none other than offshore wind – one of the most innovative clean power installations. According to Melanie Onn, deputy chief executive of RenewableUK, “Offshore wind is set to generate 30% of all UK power by 2030.”
These winds of change blow from the coast of Cumbria, home to the largest offshore wind farm. Holding title to this project, Britain powers 4.5 million homes annually with floating wind – a technology it has mastered.
Moreover, because of such large scale projects, the cost of offshore wind has fallen by 50%, making it cheaper than gas and nuclear power. No doubt, offshore wind farms have become the backbone of UK’s renewable energy strategy.
Energy and academic experts across the country believe this shift is a result of growing consciousness towards climate change. Among millennials, and corporations trying to bring clean power into their energy mix. When adopted as a political motif as well, renewable energy has motivated policymakers to take substantial steps towards a greener and cleaner planet.
So, what’s the secret to Britain being coal free and carbon free? Aggressive and aspirational targets, backed by definite long-term policy changes.