Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica
The UK government plans to retire the last of its coal fired generating stations by 2025. Is that soon enough? And what will replace them?

Air Quality

UK Coal Phase-Out Plan — Good News Tinged With Timidity

The UK government plans to retire the last of its coal fired generating stations by 2025. Is that soon enough? And what will replace them?

The UK government announced last week that it expects all of the 8 remaining coal powered generating stations in the country to be shuttered permanently by 2025, the result mostly of economic pressure on coal being ratcheted up as the UK carbon tax makes coal more expensive compared to other fuels.

coal fired generating plant

That’s good news. Greenpeace hailed the announcement, calling it “significant progress on making coal history in the birthplace of the industrial revolution,” according to The Guardian. Environment group WWF praised the government for “hitting this dirty industry where it hurts.” However, other climate activists fear the government’s plan is too timid.

Environmental group ClientEarth worries about replacing coal with another fossil fuel. “We are concerned that the door is left wide open for investments in new, long-term gas capacity, locking us into another generation of fossil fuel power,” said Sam Bright, a CleanEarth attorney. Alan Whitehead, shadow energy minister for the UK Labour Party applauded the coal plant closures but said, “The government’s lackluster support for renewables and scrappage of a number of green schemes has left it on course to miss its own climate targets.”

The government is reserving the right to keep the coal plants open longer if an emergency shortfall in electricity supplies occurs. “We consider it prudent for the secretary of state to retain provisions to act in emergency situations, as a last resort, where there might be a shortfall in electricity generation, or risk of one, and that suspension would wholly or partially mitigate that risk,” the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said.

By 2025, UK coal plants will need to meet tougher emissions standards, which will require them to be retrofitted with expensive carbon capture systems. In the meantime, the government will shovel carloads of cash to coal plant operators by way of subsidies to keep those last generating stations going for another 7 years, with UK utility customers ultimately paying the price for keeping them open.

Critics suggest the country is not doing enough to promote renewable energy. If a new generation of gas-fired or nuclear plants get built, they will still be providing electricity until 2050 and beyond, delaying the clean energy revolution by at least a generation. The news from the UK is good, but is it good enough?

 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 

Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
 

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Advertisement
 
Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.

Comments

You May Also Like

Biomass

Lithuania is the first nation in the world to adopt the LA100 renewable energy model developed by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory for...

Energy Storage

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is already sparking new activity in the energy storage field, with Goldman Sachs and Cleanhill Partners in the...

Clean Power

In-road, wireless EV charging is one way to make electric vehicles more affordable and avert the impending EV charging apocalypse.

Clean Power

The motto, "Making Plymouth a Green Energy Hotspot" embraces the historic community's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging the transition to sustainable...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.