Climate Action

UK sets new record for coal-free power generation

National Grid ESO has confirmed that Britain has broken the record for the longest time without using coal power.

  • 28 April 2020
  • Rachel Cooper

National Grid ESO has confirmed that Britain has broken the record for the longest time without using coal power. 

Britain has now broken the record for the longest time without using coal power. The amount of time of coal-free energy generation is currently 18 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes and counting. 

This is now the longest coal-free period since 1882 and breaks the UK’s previous record set in June 2019.

There has also been increased use in solar power. The UK set a new solar power record on 20 April after solar farms generated more than 9.6GW of electricity for the first time.

Since the start of lockdown in the UK there has been a reduction in air pollution due to many flights and travel being heavily reduced as the public follows government guidance to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus.

Analysis by the University of York highlighted that pollution levels have dropped by more than 40 per cent in a number of UK cities during this time.

Worldwide, there has also been a sharp reduction in emissions. At the beginning of March, NASA revealed that pollution levels in China, where the outbreak started, had dramatically reduced. NASA's pollution monitoring satellites detected significant decreases in nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

In addition to this, analysis by Carbon Brief says coronavirus is set to cause the largest ever annual fall in CO2 emissions.

The actions taken to suppress the spread of the virus have revealed what measures are possible in an emergency and many experts are urging governments to apply the same momentum to the climate emergency. Experts believe that the pandemic exposes how we can do things differently. 


Join Climate Action in our upcoming webinar on how COVID-19 could shape or break our ability to address the climate emergency in 2020, led by a global panel of sustainability professionals, health leaders and environmental policy experts. Find out more by clicking here.