The UK just went one week without coal power for the first time in 137 years

Smoke and steam bellows from the chimneys and cooling towers of Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal fired power station.

(CNN)For the first time since 1882, when the first coal-fired power plant started running in the UK, the country has gone coal-free for a full week, according to the National Grid's Electricity System Operator (ESO).

And Britain is now on course to generate electricity with zero carbon by 2025, the operator said.
The milestone was reached as the country's Environment Agency issued a stark warning about coastal communities under rising threat of floods due to climate change.

    'New normal'?

    The coal generator was off between around 1.30pm on May 1, 2019 and the same time on May 8, according to ESO.
    "While this is the first time this has happened, I predict it will become the 'new normal,'" Fintan Slye, Director of ESO said in a statement. "As more and more renewables come onto our energy system, coal-free runs like this are going to be a regular occurrence. We believe that by 2025 we will be able to fully operate Great Britain's electricity system with zero carbon."
    The landmark target of a week without coal was achieved thanks to a long-term strategy aimed at increasing the use of renewable energies, from offshore wind to domestic scale solar panels, Emma Pinchbeck, deputy CEO at RenewableUK, told CNN.
    "Wind has become a mainstream power source for the UK, providing up to 35% of our electricity over the weekend. Renewables have been crucial to phasing out dirty coal," she said.
    "The coal phase out is just the beginning of a move away from fossil fuels to low carbon living, to avoid the enormous risks of climate disruption. Last week, the Committee on Climate Change said we can only achieve net-zero emissions with a massive increase in renewables."
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