In a Stunning Turnaround, Britain Moves to End the Burning of Coal

Bigger than any medieval castle, with its 12 giant white cooling towers gleaming in the sun, the Drax Power Station dominates the horizon for tens of miles across the flat lands of eastern England. For four decades, it has been one of the world’s largest coal power plants, often generating a tenth of the U.K.’s electricity. It has been the lodestar for the final phase of Britain’s 250-year-long love affair with coal – the fuel that built the country’s empire and industrialized the world.

But no more.

The coal-devouring behemoth, and the endless trains of railroad wagons feeding it with fuel from coastal ports, is suddenly a relic of the past. In one of the greatest and fastest energy turnarounds in the developed world, the country that brought the world the industrial revolution – a revolution founded and sustained by burning coal – has cut the cord.

King Coal is, almost overnight, being banished from Britain.

Britain is phasing out its coal-burning power plants, with the last one slated to be shuttered by 2025, if not sooner. It is a startling development for the nation that founded an industrial revolution powered by coal.

The government says all of the U.K.’s remaining coal plants will be shut by 2025 – maybe sooner.

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  • Tim Truemper

    Excellent and interesting post, Jeff. I appreciate you sampling these stories for us to keep us up on these developments.