UK to end use of coal to generate electricity in 2024

From 1 October 2024, the UK will no longer use coal to generate electricity, a year earlier than planned.

The move forms part of ‘ambitious’ government commitments to transition away from fossil fuels and decarbonise the power sector to eliminate contributions to climate change by 2050.

This brings forward the deadline to phase out coal from the UK’s energy system by a year, which the government said highlights the nation’s leadership to ‘go further and faster’ in driving down emissions and lead by example in tackling climate change ahead of hosting COP26 this November. The UK is also calling on all nations to accelerate the phase-out of coal power.

The UK has already made great progress in reducing the use of coal across the power sector, with coal accounting for only 1.8% of the UK’s electricity mix in 2020, compared with 40% almost a decade ago. In 2020, the UK went 5,000 hours without coal-fired electricity.

“Coal powered the industrial revolution 200 years ago, but now is the time for radical action to completely eliminate this dirty fuel from our energy system,” said Energy and Climate Change Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

“Today, we’re sending a clear signal around the world that the UK is leading the way in consigning coal power to the history books and that we’re serious about decarbonising our power system so we can meet our ambitious, world-leading climate targets.

“The UK’s net-zero future will be powered by renewables, and it is this technology that will drive the green industrial revolution and create new jobs across the country.”

COP26 president-designate Alok Sharma commented: “The next decade will be make or break for our planet and the most powerful way we can make a difference is to end our reliance on coal.

“Ahead of COP26, I hope the UK’s decisive steps towards a cleaner, greener future sends a clear signal to friends around the world that clean power is the way forward.

“The impact of this step will be far greater if we can bring the world with us, and so our desire to support a clean and just energy transition is central to my discussions on the road to COP26.”

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