It has recently been announced that by 2025 the UK plans to close its coal fired power plants. According to HazardEx, Britain aims to close its polluting coal-fired power plants by 2025 under plans announced on 18th November, becoming the first major economy to put a date on shutting coal plants to curb carbon emissions. The desired outcome is for power plants to complement renewable energy. However, such stations will still be able to run under the new proposed plans. For example EON have a plant situated in Nottinghamshire which has pollution reducing technology so will not be affected by the new legislation – could this be a trend that others aim to follow?
Along with this new legislation comes the question as to how new gas plants will be built to replace old existing coal fired stations. It has been reported that only one plant is currently being constructed and one other, but is struggling to find investors – not the outcome the government would be hoping for.
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd said “it cannot be satisfactory for an advanced economy like the UK to be relying on polluting, carbon intensive 50 year old coal fired power stations.”
So what does this mean for the renewable energy sector?
This obviously comes as exciting news to us as renewable heating specialists and we feel a real sense of leadership when it comes to encouraging and helping home and business owners make the switch to renewable energy – we are lucky enough to have led the way for 4 years now.
In the second quarter of 2015, the UK electricity was made up of 30.2% gas, 25.3% renewables, 21.5% nuclear and 20.5% coal. Therefore with the closure of the coal fired power plants, renewable installation statistics should only rise to meet the energy demand of current consumers. Currently gas plants emit almost half the amount of carbon dioxide per megawatt of power generated as coal plants.
How will this affect the RHI?
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a government backed scheme designed to financially support those who choose to install a renewable heating solution making it even more attractive to produce renewable heat. However, earlier this year environmental groups criticised the government for making cuts to energy subsidies like the RHI. So far solar subsidies have been reduced and onshore wind will follow next year. Amber Rudd commented on this saying that such subsidies (like the RHI ) must be carefully focused on technologies that offer the best value for money, fitting into a consumer led, competition-focused energy system.
Last year almost a third of Britain’s electricity usage came from such coal fired plants. However according to HazardEx of this coal fired power plants are still in operation but will be shut down over the next ten years due to them being too old to function under European Union environmental standards.
This comes as Rudd says the government will begin a consultation next spring in order to close all coal fired powered stations which were not equipped to capture and store their carbon emissions by 2025 and restrict their usage from 2023.