The UK's remaining coal-fired power stations will be shut by 2025 with their use restricted by 2023, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has proposed in a speech today unveiling a new energy strategy. Currently, coal provides about a quarter of the UK's electricity. Her speech comes amid concerns that the UK could suffer from blackouts as a result of short supplies, brought about in large part from the closure of a number of power stations that have come to the end of their working lives.
In response UKIP Energy spokesman Roger Helmer MEP said: “On the face of it, replacing coal with gas rather than renewables looks like an outbreak of common sense, although replacing perfectly good coal-fired plants is a very large misallocation of resources. But what are Ms. Rudd's plans for sourcing the gas? Is she proposing ever more dependence on politically unstable sources like Russia? Or does she now have a practical plan to exploit indigenous gas resources?
“Coal is reliable and low-cost. It is coal closures which have played a large part in the very parlous state of electricity supply in Britain today. At a time when the National Grid is having to call on emergency diesel generation, and is looking at asking factories to stop production at peak times, it is perverse to be planning to close 25% of our generating capacity.
“Germany is currently building or refurbishing a couple of dozen coal-fired plants. Ms. Rudd needs to explain why she feels the need to close perfectly good coal-fired plants when other EU member-states are building them and in fact Poland resolutely refusing to give up its coal capacity."