In recent years, an increasing number of countries have moved away from coal in an effort to meet their climate targets. Scotland, for example, severed its ties with fossil fuel back in 2016, when it shut down its last remaining coal power plant.
Last week, government officials blew up that same plant in a visual reminder of the end of coal-fired power generation in the country, marking a new era for the energy sector dominated by renewables.
As reported by the World Economic Forum, it was the country’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who pushed the button on a controlled explosion that demolished the decommissioned 600-foot Longannet chimney.
The explosion was meant to symbolically reflect the demise of coal, as renewables are marching onwards to become the largest source of power generation in the country. In 2020 alone, Scotland managed to supply more than 97 percent of its electricity demand with renewables. In 2011, that figure was just 37 percent.
“Renewable energy projects are displacing tens of millions of tonnes of carbon every year, employing the equivalent of 17,700 people and bringing enormous socio-economic benefits to communities,” Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables Claire Mack, told the BBC.
In the coming years, Scottish policymakers will work on appropriate measures to help the country achieve its ambitious Climate Change Plan, a legally binding target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2045. Most of the initiatives will involve the decarbonization of hard-to-electrify sectors such as heat and mobility, by switching to alternative fuels like green hydrogen.