mead berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn bayles
Power Shift
The UK’s Day Without Coal

For the first time since the 1800’s, the UK has gone an entire day without burning coal to produce electricity. The FT reports:

Coal disappeared from the power system at certain times of the day last year. But its absence for an entire working day underlines a crash in the use of a fuel that accounted for 23 per cent of UK electricity generation as recently as two years ago, but by last year slid to just 9 per cent. […]

Grid officials said low demand for electricity in the week after the Easter holiday and a large amount of wind and nuclear power had helped to create the zero-coal day.

By Friday afternoon, gas power plants were supplying 47 per cent of the country’s electricity while nuclear plants and wind farms each provided 18 per cent.

Here in the United States, coal’s share of the national energy mix has steadily declined over the past few years as natural gas utilization has risen, a shift driven not by green policymaking, but by the market—fracking has produced a glut of shale gas that has made natural gas cheaper than coal.

But coal isn’t only struggling in the U.S., as the UK’s new milestone illustrates. Around the world, from Beijing to New Delhi to London, countries are working harder to find alternatives. As a result, global coal demand has slowed lately (and in the process has made life even harder for American coal firms).

Features Icon
show comments
  • Makes Trump look like King Canute.

    • f1b0nacc1

      You do realize that Canute was in fact trying to demonstrate the futility of causing change by decree?

      Then perhaps Trump is like Canute after all….grin…

  • CaliforniaStark

    Here are the actual U.S. EIA projections regarding coal use in the U.S. over the next two years.:

    “EIA expects growth coal fired electricity generation primarily a result of higher natural gas prices, to contribute to a 4% increase in coal production in 2017 and an additional 2% increase in 2018.”

    “EIA expects the share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation of natural gas to fall from an average 34% in 2016 to 32% in both 2017 and 2018 as a result of higher expected natural gas prices. Coal’s forecast generation share rises from 30% in 2016 to 31% in both 2017 and 2018.”

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2017 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service