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Britain breaks coal-free power record over Easter weekend

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PA

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The government’s set a target to phase out coal power completely by 2025

Britain has broken its record for the longest continuous period without generating electricity from coal.

The National Grid said on Monday afternoon that the coal-free period has so far lasted 89 hours.

It is the longest period since the industrial revolution and breaks the previous record set in April 2018 of 76 hours and 10 minutes.

The government plans to phase out Britain’s last coal power plants by 2025 to cut greenhouse gases.

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PA

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The sunny weather has led to low energy demand and a boost in solar power

Coal made up less than 10% of the country’s energy mix last year and will be less than that again in 2019, according to Duncan Burt, director of operations at National Grid.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “This is a really big deal, it’s exciting. It’s all about the weather, demand is low… there has been lots of lovely solar power off the panels.”

He said the UK generated a quarter of its energy from solar over the Easter weekend, with similar portions from nuclear and gas. The rest was imported from Europe.

In April, 2017 Britain went its first full day without coal since the 19th century.

However, experts warned that power generated by coal was largely being replaced by gas, another fossil fuel, rather than renewable sources.

They also said a reliance on gas made the UK vulnerable to the whims of international markets, and was not clean enough to meet the UK’s legal targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The 2008 Climate Change Act requires greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by 80% compared with 1990 levels by 2050.