UK hits symbolic coal milestone

The National Grid has announced that Britain has had its first working day since the industrial revolution without coal-powered generation.

From 11pm on Thursday 20th April to 11pm on Friday 21st April the nation’s electricity needs were met by natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar, biomass and imported power from France. There was one morning in May 2016 when it had happened before, but this was the first time it passed the symbolic milestone of a full working day.

National Grid’s Director of System Operator Cordi O’Hara described it as a “watershed moment in how our energy system is changing.”

“The UK benefits from highly diverse and flexible sources of electricity. Our energy mix continues to change and National Grid adapts system operation to embrace these changes. However, it’s important to remember coal is still an important source of energy as we transition to a low carbon system.”

Hannah Martin, head of energy at Greenpeace UK, said: “The first day without coal in Britain since the Industrial Revolution marks a watershed in the energy transition. A decade ago, a day without coal would have been unimaginable, and in 10 years’ time our energy system will have radically transformed again. The direction of travel is that both in the UK and globally we are already moving towards a low carbon economy. It is a clear message to any new government that they should prioritise making the UK a world leader in clean, green, technology.”

Just under half the electricity generated today comes from gas generators, 20% from nuclear, and the rest from solar, wind and energy brought in from Europe. It is part of the industry’s wider move away from coal by 2025 – but it doesn’t mean the UK’s remaining coal plants will remain idle from now on.

Source: BBC News/Smartest Energy

Paris climate deal comes into force

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The Paris agreement on climate change has now come into effect. In December 2015, governments agreed to keep global temperature rise to degrees Celsius above those before the industrial revolution, with a target of 1.5 degree rise.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris lit up green on Friday in recognition of the Paris climate change deal coming into force, with delegates representing nearly 200 countries meeting in Marrakech today to discuss methods of moving forwards and the creation of a rulebook to measure and review global climate action at the conference named COP22. A key part of the Paris agreement in 2015 commits governments to begin moving their economies away from fossil fuel usage, with the agreement seen as the first tying both rich and poor nations together with the common goal of protecting the climate.

Last Thursday, a United Nations review of national pledges to cut carbon identified that government efforts would fall short of the levels required to keep the global temperature rise underneath 2 degrees. The report showed that if governments acted in line with pledges the world would experience a temperature increase of between 2.9°C and 3.4°C by the end of this century.

The process of the Paris deal is a binding commitment for governments to repeat addressing the climate issue and to increase clean energy targets which were agreed to be inadequate. Other measures agreed were progress reviews every five years, a finance budget of $100bn per year for developing countries by 2020 and to achieve a balance of greenhouse gas emissions in the second half of this century.

Source: BBC