Britain about to hit 2 months without power generated by coal plants

Britain about to hit 2 months without power generated by coal plants
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Britain is expected to reach a record two months of coal-free electricity generation this week, the BBC reported Tuesday.

The last coal generator was disconnected from the grid on April 9. Britain's previous record was 18 days without coal-fired power generation.

The streak began after the country went into lockdown for the coronavirus pandemic, when leaders began shutting down coal-fired power plants that were unneeded with the sudden drop in the electricity demand.

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In recent weeks solar has accounted for 10 percent of electricity generation in the U.K., while wind has supplied nearly 50 percent, according to The Independent.

Britain has already committed to closing all of its coal plants by 2024 as part of its effort to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

During the coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. hit a record 40 days where renewable generation outpaced coal.

Utilities often ramp down coal production in the summer — a trend further driven by the drop in electricity demand — but the expense of coal compared to other fuel sources has also spurred utilities to pivot away from the energy source.

As coal plants increasingly shutter, one study found the decline of coal has saved more than 26,000 lives in the U.S. over the last decade.

--Updated at 12:41 p.m.