Wiggle room for coal power if system short

Wiggle room for coal power if system short

Wiggle room for coal power if system short

As part of its efforts to meet the country's climate targets, Britain in 2015 announced it would end "unabated" coal-fired power generation - plants without technology to capture and store carbon emissions - by 2025.

Around 6 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired power capacity is now in use, capable of powering around 6 million homes, but BEIS said that by the 2025 date it expects this to fall to just 1.5 GW and that other forms of generation will make up the shortfall.

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Ministers had considered requiring all coal plants to invest in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, but concluded it would be too time consuming and costly for plant owners to implement.

The plan, unveiled today in a long-awaited response to a 2016 consultation, will mean that from October 2025 all operating coal plants in the United Kingdom must comply with an emissions intensity limit of 450 grams of Carbon dioxide per kWh of electricity generated. But the primary reason by the "death spiral" experienced by the coal power sector is the government's carbon price floor, which sets a cost of £18 per tonne of CO2 on emissions from the power sector - a policy that renders coal largely uneconomic against its competitors.

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Since 2012, coal generation has seen a dramatic fall of 80 percent, andfigures for this past year showed that coal supplied less than 7 percent of the country's electricity needs. These closures will be supported by the relatively poor economics for coal generation and the effects of carbon pricing.

Unabated coal plant operators will therefore be unable to bid into the capacity market auctions for delivery in winter 2025.

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Dr. Jonathan Marshall, Analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit commented: "The coal phase-out will be welcomed by Britain's worldwide partners on climate change, and provides a riposte to administrations in the USA and Australia that are desperately trying to keep their coal industries alive against market realities".

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