LONDON, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Britain has gone for a whole week to generate electricity without burning coal for the first time since the 1880s, the National Grid announced Wednesday.
Britain's electric system had been coal-free for 168 hours, marking a key moment in the country's shift towards cleaner-burning fuels, said the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO).
Britain has been using coal as a power source continuously since its first power station opened in the early 1880s.
ESO director Fintan Slye said he believes Britain will be able to operate its electricity system "with zero carbon" by 2025.
That means "a fundamental change to how our system was designed to operate," he said, "integrating newer technologies right across the system -- from large scale off-shore wind to domestic scale solar panels to increased demand-side participation, using new smart digital systems to manage and control the system in real-time."
British Secretary of State for Business Greg Clark gave the strongest indication yet that the government is preparing to put into law the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change, which said that Britain should aim to cut emissions of carbon and other greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050.
"Going a week without coal for the first time since the Industrial Revolution is a huge leap forward in our world-leading efforts to reduce emissions," Clark said.
The secretary said Britain is now on a path to become the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions.
Britain aims to phase out the use of coal-fired power plants by 2025, using more renewable energy sources such as offshore wind.
There are now only six remaining coal-fired power stations in the country, which are used mainly as back-up power generator.
Gas, nuclear and wind now provide more power to the national grid in contrast to the situation in the early 21st century when coal was one of Britain's primary sources of electricity generation.
The previous coal-free run record was set over the Easter weekend this year, when the grid went 90 hours and 45 minutes without using coal.