A new direction in UK energy policy, with energy security at its heart, will include the closure of all Britain’s coal-fired power stations by 2025, HM Government’s Department of Energy & Climate Change revealed on Wednesday.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd has announced the use of coal-fired power stations will also be restricted by 2023.
Rudd stated: “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.
“We are tackling a legacy of under-investment and ageing power stations which we need to replace with alternatives that are reliable, good value for money, and help to reduce our emissions.
“It cannot be satisfactory for an advanced economy like the UK to be relying on polluting, carbon intensive 50-year-old coal-fired power stations.
“Let me be clear: this is not the future.
“We need to build a new energy infrastructure, fit for the 21st century.
“Our determination to cut carbon emissions as cost effectively as possible is crystal clear and this step will make us one of the first developed countries to commit to taking coal off our system”.
The Department of Energy & Climate Change added that a consultation process on when to close all coal-fired power stations will begin in early 2016. This consultation will set out proposals to close unabated coal-fired power stations by 2025 and restrict use from 2023.
According to the BBC, coal currently provides about a quarter of the UK’s electricity and there are concerns that the UK could suffer from blackouts because of short supplies, as a result of the closure of several older power stations.
The BBC quoted Tony Lodge, who has published a report on the UK’s energy needs for the free-market think tank Centre for Policy Studies, who said Britain was on the verge of an “energy crisis” with electricity demand set to outstrip available supply in the near future.
“We have called for an independent person separate from government to give a lead on security of supply. If we don’t have that we could be in real trouble in 18 months.”