The Energy Secretary Amber Rudd on Wednesday (18 November) outlined the new direction for UK’s energy policy.
“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 plants,” Rudd said and continued: “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.”
Coal closed by 2025
The Energy Secretary vowed to close coal-fired stations by 2025.
“One of the greatest and most cost-effective contributions we can make to emission reductions in electricity is by replacing coal fired power stations with gas. I am pleased to announce that we will be launching a consultation in the spring on when to close all unabated coal-fired power stations. Our consultation will set out proposals to close coal by 2025 - and restrict its use from 2023. If we take this step, we will be one of the first developed countries to deliver on a commitment to take coal off the system.”
“Safe and reliable”
Rudd also explained that nuclear power will have a central role in the UK’s energy future.
“Opponents of nuclear misread the science. It is safe and reliable. The challenge, as with other low carbon technologies, is to deliver nuclear power which is low cost as well. Green energy must be cheap energy.”
Amber Rudd went on to commit Government support for offshore wind on the condition that it comes down in cost:
“We should also support the growth of our world leading offshore wind industry. If the Government’s conditions on cost reduction are met – we will make funding available for three auctions in this Parliament. We intend to hold the first of these auctions by the end of 2016. On current plans we expect to see 10GW of offshore wind installed by 2020.”
Jason Ormiston, Manager PRA & Stakeholder Relations at Vattenfall in the UK, says:
“The energy industry had been anticipating the policy reset speech by the Energy and Climate Change Secretary of State for a while. Amber Rudd set out a strategy that seeks to deliver affordable, reliable and low carbon energy to the British consumer. Her announcement to close all unabated coal plant by 2025 caught the eye of the media and green groups. With around 30% of electricity supply from coal, security of supply is tackled by encouraging investment in new gas plant and nuclear. There was also something for the renewables sector as Ms Rudd made a strong case for doubling capacity in offshore wind to 20GW by 2030 if it continues on its cost reduction path. “
“It will also be worth watching the Chancellor’s upcoming Autumn Statement for additional strategic thinking about energy and possible signals on budgets for support to the sector, and also a report from the Government’s independent climate change adviser about future emissions targets – all this ahead of the climate change talks in Paris.”