Hastings MP announces phasing out of UK’s coal power stations

Coal-fired power stations in the UK could be phased out in the next decade - Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd announced this week.

Thursday, 19th November 2015, 9:28 am
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd giving a speech earlier this year

As Energy and Climate Change Secretary she was unveiling the Governmnent’s new energy strategy, and this includes a consultation on ending unabated coal-fired power stations, those with no carbon capture facilities, by 2025, prioritising gas power stations, and a commitment to supporting offshore wind projects.

In a speech on Tuesday she said that nuclear power also had a ‘central’ role in the UK’s energy future.

Mrs Rudd added: “We now have an electricity system where no form of power generation, not even gas-fired power stations, can be built without government intervention. And a legacy of ageing, often unreliable plant.

“Perversely, even with the huge growth in renewables, our dependence on coal - the dirtiest fossil fuel – hasn’t been reduced. Indeed a higher proportion of our electricity came from coal in 2014 than in 1999.

“So despite intervention we still haven’t found the right balance.”

But she emphasised that coal stations would not be closed until the Government was sure the shift to gas could be achieved within the proposed timescales.

On offshore wind farms she said they would make funding available for three new auctions within this Parliament, but support would be conditional on cost reductions, and there would be ‘no more blank cheques’.

Lisa Nandy, Labour’s shadow energy and climate change secretary, explained that it had been ‘clear for years’ that Britain’s coal stations were so old and polluting they would need to close over the next decade, and that they had to build a new generation of cleaner power stations to take their place.

But she added: “Yet this government’s chopping and changing of energy policy is putting off the investment we urgently need to secure our power supplies.”

The Government announcement was welcomed by the Institute for Public Policy Research, which said the ten-year exit strategy on coal ‘represents genuine leadership on climate change’,

Meanwhile GMB, the union for energy and nuclear workers, welcomed Mrs Rudd’s statement, but stated that ‘words need to be followed up with action’. Brian Strutton, GMB national secretary for energy, told the Government to ‘get on with finalising deals’ on new nuclear and gas power stations.

The UN Climate Change Summit in Paris starts in less than two weeks on November 30 and will see world leaders attempt to agree a global deal to reduce emissions.

Mrs Rudd added: “Action on climate change is linked to the action we’re taking now to reduce the deficit.

“It is about resilience now and in the future. But climate change is a global problem, not a local one. Action by one state will not solve the problem. It’s what we do together that counts. And that is why achieving a global deal in Paris next month is so important.”

Read more: http://www.hastingsobserver.co.uk/news/local/hundreds-sign-petition-against-hastings-and-rye-mp-1-6982852#ixzz3rvra7RrH

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