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Fossil fuels power less than half of UK electricity for the first time

By Caoimhe Toman

Date: Friday 21 Jun 2019

Fossil fuels power less than half of UK electricity for the first time

(Sharecast News) - Clean energy sources are set to overtake fossil fuels as the top UK electricity generator this year for the first time since the industrial revolution.
According to National Grid, in 2019 zero-carbon energy sources will power over half of UK homes following the closure of coal and gas-fired power stations.

Coal plants that used to generate around a third of the UK's electricity ten years ago had only provided 3% so far this year.

The UK is aiming to reach net zero-carbon emissions by 2050 so homes and businesses will have to rely on clean electricity generated by wind farms, solar panels, hydro power and nuclear power reactors.

John Pettigrew, the UK power system operator's chief executive, said: "The incredible progress that Britain has made in the past 10 years means we can now say 2019 will be the year zero-carbon power beats fossil fuel-fired generation for the first time.

"We wouldn't have said it if we weren't confident that this will be the year."

National Grid is spending around £1.3bn a year to adapt the grid to run on renewable energy and believes that it will be ready to manage a completely zero-carbon electricity grid within six years.

"Do I expect that this will be a reality? No," Pettigrew said. "But we won't be a constraint in a low carbon world. We will be prepared to play our role."

Chris Skidmore MP, the interim energy minister, said coal is "fast becoming the fossil of our energy system and it will soon be consigned to the history books."

He added: "We've set in stone our commitment to end our contribution to climate change entirely by 2050 and this is yet another step on the path to becoming a net zero emissions economy."

There were just seven coal-fired power stations left in the UK with the last one planned to close in 2025.

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