Britain's last coal plants to close by 2025
The last coal power station in Britain will be forced to close in 2025, the government has said, as it laid out its plan to phase-out the fuel.
Ministers had previously promised in 2015 that the UK would end its use of coal power “within a decade”, and replace it with gas and other fuels in order to meet its climate change commitments.
Officials have since admitted that the last coal power station is more likely to shut in 2022, prompting calls from campaigners to bring forward the cut-off year.
Greg Clark, the energy secretary, said the move sent a clear signal to the world that the UK was a good place to invest in clean energy. “Taking coal power out of our energy mix and replacing it with cleaner technology will significantly reduce emissions from the UK’s energy use,” he said.
The government acknowledges the potential human cost of coal power stations shuttering, saying plant closures could have a “significant impact on communities” as they employed around 100-500 people directly.
The only way the coal plants could stay open would be if they were retro-fit with the relevant technology to capture and store the carbon emissions, though this is considered an “unlikely” option. The other option is that they convert to burning another fuel, such as biomass, a process which is complete at two of the six units at Drax, the UK’s biggest power station, and is nearly finished on a third.
“We recognise coal is a fuel of the past and using the latest technology we have already upgraded half the power Station to run on sustainable biomass,” said a spokesman for Drax, which welcomed the consultation. “The majority of the electricity we now produce is renewable, providing UK homes and businesses with low carbon, affordable and reliable power.”