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EGEB: UK goes longest stretch without coal-power generation since 1882

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • As of today, Britain has broken a 138-year-old record for coal-free power generation.
  • Roof-integrated solar continues to innovate and improve.
  • David Byrne asks, Can we all be like Texas when it comes to embracing wind energy?

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Coal-free record in the UK

The UK has not used coal-fired plants for more than 438 hours, or 18 days and 13 hours so far, according to National Grid data. That’s the longest uninterrupted period of not using coal-fired power generation since 1882, during the Industrial Revolution.

This is due to lower demand for power as a result of the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Coal makes up only 2.1% of the UK’s power source now. There are only four coal plants left, and coal generation will be banned from 2025.

Last week, as Electrek reported, the UK broke its solar power record at 9.68 GW. The previous record was 9.55 GW in May 2019. More electricity is being generated than being used, so the National Grid may need to turn off some power plants and wind farms to avoid overload.

As the Guardian reports:

The collapse of coal and rise of renewable energy sources have led to a drastic reduction in carbon emissions from the UK power sector. Since 2012, the average carbon intensity of the grid – the amount of emissions required to produce one kilowatt hour of energy – has declined by more than two-thirds, from 507g of CO2 to 161g.

Roof-integrated solar

GAF Energy, a San Francisco-based company that provides roof-integrated solar — an all-in-one solar solution for roofers — has launched an upgraded version of its solar roof product, DecoTech 2.0. GAF Energy partners with North America’s largest roofing and waterproofing manufacturer, GAF, to install integrated solar.

DecoTech 2.0 will simplify the installation process for installers with fewer points of attachment and new fastener hardware for quicker and simpler installation. It also features wiring improvements for durability and safety.

Martin DeBono, president of GAF Energy, said:

Not only does our redesigned system simplify the installation process, but it can reduce costs and save our local roofing contractors time. The goal is to provide a product to roofers that is as simple and easy to install as a non-solar roof, while delivering superior value.

So, you don’t just sit the solar panels on the roof; the roofers themselves integrate the solar panels as part of the roof. Pretty cool.

Texas is big on wind — why?

As regular readers of the Electrek Green Energy Brief know, we report regularly on how Texas leads the United States in wind energy generation. David Byrne (yes, of the band Talking Heads) runs an online publication called Reasons to be Cheerful.

Yesterday, Byrne published a feature that he authored that explores “how a conservative, oil-pumping state became one of the world’s biggest generators of wind power.”

Byrne examines how this red state came to embrace green energy. You can read the whole piece here, but here’s an excerpt:

West Texas is oil country. But there is something else going on in West Texas: It is a world capital of wind energy. Last year, Texas got more of its energy from wind — 23.4% — than any other US state. In fact, if Texas were a country (which some might argue it is) it would rank fifth in the world in wind power generation, just behind Germany and India.

Texas uses a LOT of energy. Since 1960, it has consumed more energy annually than any other state — a hundred times more than Vermont, and 40% more than California, which has far more people… This insatiable appetite for energy has given Texas an incentive to look for new power sources. Over the past two decades, it’s found one on its western range, where gale-force winds sweep the plains.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.