Energy Town

Energy source: traditional coal

Photo: Ratcliffe-on-Soar

Ratcliffe-on-Soar, a 2,000MW coal-fired power station

What is coal?

Coal is a fuel that supplies a lot of our country's energy needs. It is dug out of mines, usually deep below the Earth's surface. Coal can be burnt to heat homes and to supply heat for industries like steel-making, but most of the UK's coal is used to generate electricity in large power stations.

How a coal-fired power station works

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  • There are 17 large coal-fired power stations in the UK (ie 100MW and above).
  • Coal supplies 33.4% of the UK's electricity.
  • Most coal-fired power stations are located near coal mines.
  • A 2,000MW coal-fired power station boiler can burn around 800 tonnes of coal each hour.
  • A typical coal-fired power station can supply enough electricity for 1.5 million homes on average.