Great Britain has gone two month without coal and yes, that is a big deal.

It's gone from 40% coal powered to ~2% in 8yrs. And plenty for other countries to learn from the experience.

How did it happen and what does it mean?

Thread with charts…
During the coal-free two months, renewables were the largest source of electricity in Britain

36% renewables, of which
––––>17% wind
––––> 9% solar
––––> 9% biomass
––––> 1% hydro
31% gas
22% nuclear
9% imports, of which
––––> 5% France
––––> 3% Belgium
––––> 2% NL
In fact, British renewables have generated more electricity in 2020 to date than all fossil fuels together.

That's never happened before.

Renewables might -or might not- beat fossil fuels over the full year, but the trend is only going in one direction:
When will the coal-free run end?

Nothing's guaranteed, but it will probably continue until the end of the summer.

That would push the record out towards five months without coal power in Britain.
How is this possible?

The big picture is that coal is being squeezed out of the British electricity mix by falling demand and renewables.

The same goes for gas.

–check out the shrinking dark grey wedges here
But there's also been a tragic contributor to the situation we're in today: The coronavirus lockdown

During the two months without coal, demand has been 15% lower than in the same period last year.

(Demand was already falling yr-on-yr; this is additional)
The transformation in Britain's electricity mix isn't just about coal (did I say that already?)

The 'carbon intensity' of our electricity has fallen an amazing two-thirds since 2012, from 508gCO2/kWh to an average of 173gCO2/kWh in 2020 to date. Wow.
The reduction in the carbon intensity of British electricity is so amazing, I decided to make a second chart to show it in a different way.

If you want to learn more about how Britain got off coal, check out our interactive. There isn't just one reason!

TL;DR = renewables, efficiency / falling demand, carbon taxes, air pollution rules, govt pledges, protest groups, dash for gas, Thatcher
Final thought: UK carbon emissions have fallen fast over the same period as we were getting off coal power.

Guess what – coal was the biggest factor.

Now it's almost gone, the country must tackle emissions from elsewhere. Transport is number one source.
And now the small print:

1⃣Data covers transmission-connected generation in GB only. That means it misses out a bunch of windfarms (and some industrial gas). The true share for renewables will be higher than reported here and CO2/kWh lower.
late additions in response to question from @PhilippLitz on the political economy angle…

plenty more to say but here's a few pointers:
You can follow @DrSimEvans.
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