Announcing the decision ahead of a major speech this morning which set out a new direction for UK energy policy British Energy Minister Amber Rudd said:
“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 Government will consult early next year on when to close all coal-fired power stations. The consultation will set out proposals to close unabated coal-fired power stations by 2025 – and restrict use from 2023.
Rudd added: “After 20 years of action on climate change, 30% of our electricity still comes from unabated coal.
“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.
“For centuries coal has played a central role in our energy system. But it’s the most carbon intensive fossil fuel and damages air quality.
“Gas produces half the carbon emissions of coal when used for power generation.
“In an ideal world, the carbon price provided by the ETS would phase out coal for us using market signals. But it’s not there yet. So I want to take action now.”