UK goes 55 hours without coal power, breaks historical record

Wind and solar is on the rise in Britain, and now it's gone more than two days straight without using any coal power.

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Claire Reilly was a video host, journalist and producer covering all things space, futurism, science and culture. Whether she's covering breaking news, explaining complex science topics or exploring the weirder sides of tech culture, Claire gets to the heart of why technology matters to everyone. She's been a regular commentator on broadcast news, and in her spare time, she's a cabaret enthusiast, Simpsons aficionado and closet country music lover. She originally hails from Sydney but now calls San Francisco home.
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  • Webby Award Winner (Best Video Host, 2021), Webby Nominee (Podcasts, 2021), Gold Telly (Documentary Series, 2021), Silver Telly (Video Writing, 2021), W3 Award (Best Host, 2020), Australian IT Journalism Awards (Best Journalist, Best News Journalist 2017)
Claire Reilly
An aerial photograph of West Burton Power Plant, Lincolnshire

The UK is phasing out its dependence on coal power plants.

David Goddard/Getty

Britain's industrial revolution was built on coal, but now the United Kingdom is having another revolution, and it's built on green energy.

The UK just went 55 hours without generating any power from coal, breaking a historical record.

According to figures from Bloomberg, power stations across the whole of the United Kingdom went from 10:25 p.m. on Monday (London time) until 5:10 a.m. Thursday this week without using any coal for power generation. The previous record of 40 hours was set last October, according to Bloomberg.

The UK is becoming a force to be reckoned with in sustainable energy use, and currently ranks sixth on the World Bank's sustainable energy scorecard (behind Denmark, Canada, the US, Netherlands and Germany).

The UK's renewable energy mix consists largely of wind and solar generation -- in 2017, Britain's wind farms generated more electricity than coal power plants for more than 75 percent of the year. According to recent government figures (PDF), the reduction in coal use was responsible for a 3 percent drop in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2016.

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