With the closing of the UK Government’s coal phase-out consultation, the Scottish Opencast Communities Alliance (SOCA) has today criticised the consultation as being a plan to extend the lives of coal-fired power stations, not phase them out.
The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) proposes new measures to be applied to remaining coal-fired power stations in 2025, designed to ensure that ‘unabated’ plant (those not fitted with technology to limit carbon emissions) cannot operate beyond that date.
But the BEIS consultation document makes clear that, on current policies, it does not expect any coal-fired power stations to be operating beyond 2021.
Malcolm Spaven, Chairman of SOCA – based in Gorebridge, Edinburghshire, said: “This consultation has been billed as a demonstration of the Government’s commitment to meeting the challenges of the Paris Agreement by getting rid of the worst polluters, coal-fired power stations.
“But the Government actually believes that if it does nothing, all those coal-fired power stations will have closed down by 2021. It now wants to keep them operating for a further four years.”
SOCA’s submission to BEIS claims the results of the Government’s proposals will be:
- Weaker incentives for power station operators to switch from coal to low carbon technologies
- ‘Several thousand’ additional premature deaths from the pollutants emitted by coal-fired power stations
- More environmental blight around opencast coal mines, plus a threat of new mines opening to meet the additional demand for coal beyond 2021.
SOCA wants to ban coal-fired power stations from bidding in future Capacity Market auctions as alternative measures to ensure coal phase-out occurs in 2021.