On 21st April this year, the UK saw the first day of no coal-fired power generation since the industrial revolution, as coal was displaced by renewable energy generation, in particular 1.7 GW of solar output. This notable occasion was repeated on Sunday 1st October, as the country again went coal-free.

Katie Fenn
, analyst at independent energy consultancy EnAppSys told Power Engineering International that renewables were again the cause of coal’s displacement.
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“Whilst in April this was mainly from the high solar generation, averaging 1.7 GW across the day and peaking at 5.2 GW, combined with a strong 2.1 GW biomass baseload contribution and 5.3 GW wind, on 1st October it was high wind generation, averaging 8.8 GW and peaking at 11.2 GW, that pushed out coal.”


As 1st October was a Sunday, demand was relatively low at an average of 28.5 GW, compared to 33.6 GW on Friday 21st April.

“This meant that not only was coal displaced by the high wind generation, but CCGT generation was also pushed down to 8.1 GW (lower than the wind average) from an average of 14.7 GW across the rest of the week, ” Fenn added.

This high wind generation also resulted in low prices in the market, with pumped storage able to pump water uphill for £0/MWh during Sunday evening.