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UK set for first full day without coal power since Industrial Revolution

Staff Writer |
UK expects Friday to be the first full day since the Industrial Revolution when it hasn't depended on coal for electricity.

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The U.K. has steadily tried to reduce its reliance on the most-polluting of fossil fuels by increasing the use of natural gas and alternatives such as wind.

The previous record for coal-free power was 19 hours, according to National Grid, which operates the country's transmission system and expects to achieve 24 hours on Friday.

"It's a milestone in a transition to fuels that will be more flexible and sustainable," said David Elmes, head of the Warwick Business School's Global Energy Research Network.

During the coal-less periods, the plants are not shut down altogether, but do not supply electricity to the grid.

Britain plans to phase out coal altogether by 2025 as it seeks to reduce carbon emissions, which cause global warming.

Coal was used to generate just 9 percent of Britain's power last year, down from 23 percent in 2015.

Natural gas accounted for 42 percent of generation, followed by renewable sources, with 24 percent, and nuclear at 21 percent.

If Britain goes coal-less Friday, it will be the first time since the world's first centralized public coal-fired generator opened at London's Holborn Viaduct in 1882.


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