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Guardian Lauds Coal Free Week- But Forgets To Mention Gas Supplied 49%!

By Paul Homewood



I was not going to comment on this as it is such transparent twaddle. But it appears to have now gone across the Atlantic to CNN and others.

This is from the Guardian:


ScreenHunter_4210 May. 11 13.13

Britain has gone a week without using coal to generate electricity for the first time since Queen Victoria was on the throne, in a landmark moment in the transition away from the heavily polluting fuel.

The last coal generator came off the system at 1.24pm on 1 May, meaning the UK reached a week without coal at 1.24pm on Wednesday, according to the National Grid Electricity System Operator, which runs the network in England, Scotland and Wales.

Coal-fired power stations still play a major part in the UK’s energy system as a backup during high demand but the increasing use of renewable energy sources such as wind power means it is required less. High international coal prices have also made the fuel a less attractive source of energy.

The latest achievement – the first coal-free week since 1882, when a plant opened at Holborn in London – comes only two years after Britain’s first coal-free day since the Industrial Revolution.

Burning coal to generate electricity is thought to be incompatible with avoiding catastrophic climate change, and the UK government has committed to phasing out coal-fired power by 2025.

Fintan Slye, the director of National Grid ESO, said he believed Britain’s electricity system could be run with zero carbon as soon as 2025.

He said: “Zero-carbon operation of the electricity system by 2025 means a fundamental change to how our system was designed to operate – integrating newer technologies right across the system – from large-scale offshore wind to domestic-scale solar panels to increased demand-side participation, using new smart digital systems to manage and control the system in real-time.”

Greg Clark, the business secretary, hailed the achievement. He said the UK is “on a path to become the first major economy to legislate for net-zero emissions” in the wake of the report.


The idea that a week without coal power represents some sort of transition is ridiculous. Below is the actual power mix for that week:




Far from renewables leading the way, it was good old fashioned gas which contributed 49% of our power.

Burning trees instead of coal added a further 6%, whilst nuclear provided 22%.

Wind power supplied a paltry 10%.

Go back to 2000, and the Q2 stats looked little different:


Nuclear is virtually unchanged from then, while burning things has fallen marginally from 72% to 55%.

Whilst wind power is now contributing 10% to the mix, the decline of coal is making us much more reliant on imports, which have doubled to 10%. I certainly don’t regard that as a “success”.

There is nothing in these figures to substantiate Fintan Slye’s claim that Britain’s electricity system could be run with zero carbon as soon as 2025.

For the guy in charge of our electricity supply to making such dangerous and nonsensical claims, simply to satisfy his political masters, suggests he is totally unfit for his job.