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UK coal power stations to close by 2025

Words: Laura Edgar

Energy secretary Amber Rudd has announced government plans to close all coal-fired power stations by 2025.

Use of outmoded power stations would be restricted by 2023.

Rudd said: “Energy security comes first and I am determined to ensure that the UK has secure, affordable, and clean energy supplies that hard-working families and businesses can rely on now and in the future.

“We are tackling a legacy of underinvestment and ageing power stations which we need to replace with alternatives that are reliable, good value for money, and help to reduce our emissions.”

Rudd said that instead of relying on coal-fired power stations the UK needed a new energy infrastructure “fit for the 21st century”. She said she wants more gas-fired stations to be built and that investment in nuclear energy would be vital to the government’s policy.

Additionally, renewable energy subsidies, which were cut earlier this year, should be carefully focused on technologies that offer the best value for money, fitting into a “consumer-led, competition-focused energy system”.

Friends of the Earth’s senior energy campaigner Simon Bullock said: “Amber Rudd is certainly taking UK energy policy in a new direction - unfortunately it’s backwards to the 20th century.

“Phasing out coal – if that’s what’s being suggested – is essential for the climate. But switching from coal to gas is like an alcoholic switching from two bottles of whisky a day to two bottles of port.

“The UK Government’s ongoing addiction to fossil fuels sends a terrible signal to the crucial Paris climate talks starting in a fortnight.”

RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Maf Smith said the announcement provides “clarity” on where the government stands on the future of offshore wind, which will give “developers the confidence to invest in the British economy. Industry has already shown it can rise to the challenge of reducing costs and offshore wind companies are confident they will be cost-competitive with new gas and new nuclear by 2025”.

Smith added: “If we want to cut emissions and keep bills low, government needs to show that it won’t stand in the way of subsidy-free forms of power, like onshore wind, being able to access our energy market and compete head to head with options like nuclear and gas.”

A consultation on when to close coal-fired power stations will held in the New Year.