As a result of the coronavirus lockdown, energy use in the UK has fallen by around 20 per cent. This had led to a new record being set for how long the country has gone without using any energy produced from coal.
The previous record stood at 18 days, six hours, and was broken in the early hours of 28 April. The coal-free run is still continuing, and the National Grid said that it does not expect to bring any coal-fired generation on to the system in the immediate future.
The drop in demand has coincided with a fortnight of good weather, with solar plants capitalising on the recent sunshine. Almost 10GW (9.68GW) was produced from solar panels at 1.30pm Monday, 20 April, a new record.
Energy and climate analysts Carbon Brief reports that over this 18-day period, renewables have been the largest source of electricity in the UK, producing 37 per cent of generated power. Gas has provided 32 per cent, nuclear 22 per cent, and nine per cent has been imported from France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. This compares to 2012, when 43 per cent of power over the year came from coal, 26 per cent from gas, and just seven per cent from renewables.
As a result of the curtailed energy production, CO2 emissions are down more than a third (34 per cent) compared to the same period last year.