UK coal plants to close by 2025

Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Beall/ Flickr

Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Beall/ Flickr

New plans will see all UK coal plants phased out by 2025. According to a new energy strategy laid out in a speech by Energy Secretary Amber Rudd, the government will favour gas to oust current coal energy.

Ms Rudd announced new plans under which all of the UK’s remaining coal plants will be closed by 2025. Restriction in their usage will be rolled out in 2023.

Ms Rudd called coal energy “perverse” and the “dirtiest fossil fuel” which currently provides 28% of the country’s energy supply.

However, environment campaign group Friends of the Earth (FoE) have criticised the move claiming that “Switching from coal to gas is like an alcoholic switching from two bottles of whisky a day to two bottles of port”.

“Amber Rudd seems to be living in a fantasy world were nuclear is affordable, fracking is actually going to produce useful amounts of gas and our huge renewables energy potential isn’t worth bothering with.”

The group has argued that:

“Calling these plans a new direction for energy policy is deeply ironic since this is clearly little more than a reheated version of Margaret Thatcher’s energy policy, which was based on the dream of nuclear and the switch from coal to gas. Thatcher managed to get one nuclear station built, Rudd probably won’t even manage that given the eye-watering price tag”.

While campaigners argue that the new strategy does not tackle the issue of pollution, Ms Rudd says in her speech:

“One of the greatest and most cost-effective contributions we can make to emission reductions in electricity is by replacing coal-fired power stations with gas,”

“Gas is central to our energy secure future. In the next 10 years, it’s imperative that we get new gas-fired power stations built.”

FoE Director Dr Richard Dixon says:

“Aiming to close down coal power stations is commendable but planning to replace them with a new fleet of gas-fired power stations will automatically lock us into a high-carbon power system, guaranteeing we won’t meet UK climate targets. In Scotland we’ll stop burning coal to make electricity next March and the priorities will be to boost energy efficiency and renewable energy, on the way to a fossil-free Scotland. Sadly the UK’s backwards energy policy will slow down our ability to play to Scotland’s energy strengths”.

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