"George Orwell once observed British civilization was "founded on coal." The author of "1984" would hardly recognize his home country today.
Coal, which fueled the factories, steam engines and power plants that made Britain the center of the Industrial Revolution, has all but disappeared from the United Kingdom. The country's last deep-pit coal mine closed in 2015. Now, the fuel is poised to vanish from its electric system.
Britain concluded a 67-day stretch without any coal generation earlier this month, when a coal plant operator briefly turned on a boiler in Yorkshire to conduct routine maintenance. The government has set a 2024 deadline for phasing out the country's two remaining coal plants. And the national grid operator is shifting its focus from retiring coal to moving beyond gas."