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UK to close coal power stations by 2025 says energy minister

The UK Conservative government is to consult on phasing out coal completely by 2025 – but only if new gas capacity is advancing fast enough

UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, told an audience in London 18 November that after “20 years of action on climate change, 30% of the country’s electricity still comes from unabated coal. 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”, she told the Institution of Civil Engineers in a speech. “Our consultation will set out proposals to close coal by 2025 – and restrict its use from 2023”, she said.

"The way we now generate and consume electricity has led to real physical changes in the UK's energy system"

But Rudd said the government would only proceed if it was “confident that the shift to new gas can be achieved within these timescales.”

Blaming past governments, she said: “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 plant.”

The UK is facing winter with its thinnest-ever spare generation capacity. As it is, National Grid has had to bid for demand and supply-side responses, and at 13.30 on 4 November it advised of the need for 500 megawatts (MW) to top up its safety cushion, of which generators bid in to supply 457 MW and major users were poised to turn down a total 43 MW of demand.

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