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UK to proceed with unabated coal-fired power plant closure plans: govt


Coal plant closures by 2025 on track after consultation

Plan to reduce carbon, low impact on supply security

The UK government will proceed with its plan to phase out unabated coal-fired power stations by 2025 to reduce carbon emissions and air pollution without jeopardizing security of supply, the energy department confirmed on Thursday.

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This decision is based on "the benefits of guaranteeing reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and air pollution, the certainty regulation would provide to the market for new capacity, and on assessments of the low likelihood of impact on security of supply," the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said in a statement.

BEIS reiterated its decision to close coal-fired power plants following a consultation which ran for almost four months until February 2017, which received 5,939 responses from individuals, businesses, trade bodies.

BEIS said the majority of stakeholder responses held the view that "there is unlikely to be a significant risk to security of supply from regulating to close unabated coal, with stakeholders highlighting the Capacity Market's role in ensuring security of supply."

The uncertainty over the timing of the plant closures was seen as a potential threat to investment in new capacity, but BEIS said many industry participants backed the view that regulation was "not necessarily required to drive the switch away from coal."

They underscored the effectiveness of carbon pricing through the EU Emissions Trading System and UK's Carbon Price Support and the emissions reduction requirements under the Industrial Emissions Directive, BEIS said.

Also from the consultation, BEIS said that there was "little support" for Carbon Capture and Storage technology to be deployed to existing coal plants due to the nascent nature of this technology, high development costs and uncertain timetable for investment.

--Anuradha Ramanathan,
--Edited by Jonathan Dart,