Comment on UK coal phase-out consultation

Commenting on the Government response to the unabated coal closure consultation, which was published today, Dr Jonathan Marshall, Energy Analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said:

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Image: London Permaculture, creative commons licence

“While delivering on the top line of a 2025 closure, the Government’s decision to allow coal plants to compete in the capacity market on equal footing until then looks like something of a missed opportunity. In light of recent rhetoric, observers could have expected a stronger move from the Government, that would utilise the market to remove coal generation as soon as possible rather than handing it another lifeline.

“While these plants remain in action – and in receipt of Government support – the technologies of the future will continue to be stymied. Analysis shows that the UK can move beyond coal well before 2025 without risking of supply interruptions, so it’s slightly mystifying that ministers haven’t tried to pull the plug out a little quicker. It’s also worth noting that the move doesn’t apply to Northern Ireland, which somewhat compromises the Government’s desire to present this as a national UK action.

“Nevertheless, the coal phase-out will be welcomed by Britain’s international partners on climate change, and provides a riposte to administrations in the US and Australia that are desperately trying to keep their coal industries alive against market realities.”