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UK to end coal-fired power generation

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World Coal,

The UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Amber Rudd, has announced an end to unabated coal-fired power by 2025 ahead of a speech this morning that will set out the direction of UK energy policy over the next decade.

“It cannot be satisfactory for an advanced economy like the UK to be relying on polluting, carbon intensive 50 yr old coal-fired stations,” Rudd said. “Let me be clear: this is not the future. We need to build a new energy infrastructure, fit for the 21st century.”

The Energy Secretary will instead launch a new dash for gas in the UK with the fuel becoming central to securing the UK’s energy needs.

“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,” Rudd will say in her speech. “Gas is central to our energy secure future. In the next 10 yr, it’s imperative that we get new gas-fired power stations built.”

She will also voice support for new nuclear projects in the UK in a speech that will have energy security at its heart – departing from the previous mantra of renewables-at-all-costs.

“Energy security comes first and I am determined to ensure that the UK has secure affordable and clean energy supplies that hardworking families and businesses can rely on now and in the future,” said Rudd. “We are tackling a legacy of underinvestment and ageing power stations which we need to replace with alternative that are reliable, good value for money and help to reduce our emissions.”

Coal currently supplies just under 30% of UK energy needs but has been under pressure in recent years following the introduction of the Carbon Price Floor, a carbon tax that has recently seen announcements that coal-fired plants at Longannet, Ferrybridge and Eggborough will close by 2016. In total, over 16 GW of coal-fired power will have closed in the UK between 2012 and 2016 with little built by way of replacement.

The new announcement will make the UK – which was the first country to harness the power the coal during the Industrial Revolution – also the first to phase it out: a significant commitment ahead of the Paris climate change talks next month.

“Out determined to cut carbon emissions as cost effectively as possible is crystal coal and this step will make us one of the first developed countries to commit to taking coal off our system,” concluded Rudd.

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