A new report has shown that the affordability of coal remains important to the UK economy, demonstrating the benefits of coal-fired power to the wider economy – both now and in the future.
It argues that upgrading existing coal-fired plants to meet the NOx and SOx emissions limits of the EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive is a more economic solution to future security needs than building new gas-fired power plants.
“This report underlines our belief that there is a much more affordable way to move to a low carbon electricity generation mix, which includes clean coal with carbon capture, and storage and poses much less risk to the UK’s electricity supplies during that transition,“ said Phil Garner, director general of CoalPro, who commissioned the report.
Coal still provides between 35% and 40% of UK electricity; however, existing plants are under “serious threat” from current energy policies, such as the UK’s carbon tax, said Nigel Yaxley, managing director of the Association of UK Coal Importers (CoalImp), responding to the report. “Many coal plants [are] facing closure by the early 2020s, without credible plans for alternative, affordable new build capacity to fill the gap.”
According to Yaxley, this “cliff edge” risks the loss of the skills and experience necessary to develop future coal projects, including carbon capture and storage, and would result in higher electricity prices and a loss of economic competitiveness.
“There’s never been a more important time for driving the benefits of indigenous and imported coal as part of a diverse energy mix,” concluded Yaxley. “We believe that it’s time for urgent action to place it back at the heart of UK energy policy.”
The report – Review of the impact on the GB electricity market and wider UK economy of removing the UK’s carbon tax on electricity generators (available here) – was commissioned by CoalPro and prepared by NERA Economic Consulting
Written by Jonathan Rowland.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/power/14112014/clean-coal-would-be-a-cheaper-bridge-to-low-carbon-future/