UK generators consumed 8.6 million tonnes of coal in 2017, down by 29% on the year, amid a lack of competitiveness against gas and a reduced plant fleet, preliminary government data showed on February 22.
"Coal use has declined since the early 1970s as more fuels entered the market, but in the last 10 years, UK coal consumption has fallen by 77%." said the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
"The decline in 2017 was due to reduced capacity, with the closure of Longannet (2.4 GW) and Ferrybridge C (2 GW) in 2016." it said, adding generators had also continued to favour gas over coal.
"This was partly due to the carbon price per GWh being higher for coal."
A GBP 18.08/t ($25.2/t) carbon tax has been levied on UK coal-fired generation since April 2015.
Yet coal imports were up by a marginal 1.4% last year, to 8.4 million tonnes, with plants becoming less reliant on stocks.
The government aims to close all unabated coal-fired power stations by 2025.
(Writing by Becky Du Editing by Tammy Yang)
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