The United Kingdom (UK) has set a new record by generating electricity without coal for seven consecutive days. As of 1 pm on Tuesday (May 8, 2019), the UK produced energy for 167 hours without the use of fossil fuel, according to the National Grid, electricity and gas utility company headquartered in the UK.
The British Parliament, on May 1, declared a “climate emergency” in the United Kingdom, backed by opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, to protect the environment for future generations.
“We have no time to waste. We are living in a climate crisis that will spiral dangerously out of control unless we take rapid and dramatic action now,” Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, told in the Parliament.
The groundbreaking record came after an 11-days consecutive protest from the Extinction Rebellion activist group in central London, demanding to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025, among other things.
How the UK managed to achieve the feat
The UK has managed to produce electricity for a week without burning coal, by using Gas (45%), Nuclear (21%), Wind (11%), Imports (10%), Biomass (6%), Solar (6%), Hydro (1%) along with zero per cent of storage, tweeted Sky News Tech.
The UK has gone a week without burning coal to generate electricity – the longest stretch since the Industrial Revolution. Power instead came from:
⚛ Nuclear 21%
☀ Solar 6%
Storage 0% https://t.co/lTEPYqJ865
— Sky News Tech (@SkyNewsTech) May 8, 2019
According to a report by Science Alert, Coal contribution in the UK grid has come down to below 10%, as compared to about 40% a decade ago. Between 2012 and 2018, the UK has managed to reduce coal production by 88%.
Praising the achievement, the business and energy secretary Greg Clark, in a statement said, “Going a week without coal for the first time since the Industrial Revolution is a huge leap forward in our world-leading efforts to reduce emissions, but we’re not stopping there,” reported Sky News.
“To combat climate change and seize on the opportunities of clean growth, we’re phasing out coal entirely by 2025 and building a cleaner, greener energy system,” Clark said.
Possible for developing countries like India to emulate the UK
Developing countries like India rely heavily on the use of fossil fuels. At the same time, providing access to electricity and clean water is essential to developing as well as underdeveloped countries, to bridge the income gap and reduce poverty. Therefore fossil fuel like coal is essential to their growth.
In 2010, to bring 300 million people out of poverty, it was assessed that the electricity consumption would have to increase threefold by 2030, according to a report by the World Economic Forum. On the more worrying side, 60% of electricity demand in India is met by coal.
According to a report in the Washington Post, the worlds largest producer China tripled the use of coal in seven years from 2010 to 2017, while India doubled the amount of coal, it used in the same period.
Because of China’s clean energy initiatives, coal-based energy production in China is projected to fall by 2 per cent, while India’s consumption is expected to rise by another quarter by the end of 2023, reported the Washington Post.
However bold it may seem, a study produced by the University of Technology (LUT) in Finland claims that India has the capacity to operate entirely on renewables by 2050. The project titled ‘The Demand for Storage Technologies in Energy Transition Pathways Towards 100% Renewable Energy for India’, elaborates on how growing wind and solar and storage capacity would enable India to produce electricity through clean and sustainable energy sources.