Campaign News


UK has first coal-free day since Industrial Revolution - but biomass isn’t the answer - 25 Apr 2017

The UK has had its first day without using coal to fulfil its energy needs for the first time since the Industrial Revolution - but alternatives like biomass definitely aren’t the answer.

The National Grid described Friday April 21st as a “watershed” for the country’s energy industry as the UK saw its first coal-free day since 1882.

The government wants to completely phase out Britain's last coal plants by 2025 to cut carbon emissions.

The National Grid’s Cordi O'Hara said: "The UK benefits from highly diverse and flexible sources of electricity. Our energy mix continues to change and National Grid adapts system operation to embrace these changes."

Data from Gridwatch, which tracks UK electricity generation, stated that around half of British energy on Friday came from natural gas, a quarter came from nuclear plants and wind, biomass and imported energy were also used.

The decline in coal usage is driven in part by greater use of solar panels and wind turbines, which are now increasingly used to deliver electricity to homes and businesses.

But energy plants are also using biomass, a process which sees wood pellets burnt to generate electricity. According to Gridwatch, there are currently 17 biomass stations in the UK.

Use Wood Wisely believes woody biomass should not be considered a viable energy source that’s suitable for generating energy.

This is backed up by a recent report from think-tank Chatham House, which said using wood pellets for electricity generation is speeding up climate warming, rather than slowing it down.

The report is part of a growing package of evidence casting significant doubt on the use of biomass. Instead of reliance on and promotion of this method of energy generation, we would like to see greater focus on genuine renewable methods, such as solar and wind.



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