UK to close 15 coal power stations in next 10 years to achieve 30% energy from renewable sources by 2020

By @vitthernandez on
Coal Power Station
Firefighters tackle a fire at a power station in Ferrybridge, northern England July 31, 2014. A fire broke out at Britain's Ferrybridge coal-fired power plant in West Yorkshire on Thursday, owner and operator SSE said, with no injuries reported but one generation unit going offline. Reuters/Andrew Yates

In the next 10 years, the UK will shutter all of its 15 coal power stations as part of the country’s strategy to increase reliance on renewable sources for energy to 30 percent by 2020. British Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd says the closing is part of the push to have more “secure, affordable, and clean energy supplies.”

For this to happen, it would place restrictions on all coal-powered installations in 2023 before the facilities are fully closed in 2025, reports Engadget. Part of the strategy would be to also retire in 2023 its nuclear power plants as the government invests in safer and more reliable forms of nuclear energy.

The nuclear plants account for 16 percent of UK’s energy mix, while 28 percent come from coal and the remaining 48 percent from natural gas. Rudd explains, “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.”

Britain’s position contrasts with that of the previous Australian government led by Tony Abbott who insisted on the large role of coal not only in its power mix and export income but also despised cleaner forms of energy such as wind power.

Rudd says Britain would rely more on renewable fuel sources such as wind, wave, hydro, biomass and solar. By shifting to these source, the UK hopes to reach the EU Renewable Energy Directive that requires for the country to rely on renewable sources by at least 30 percent of its energy needs by 2020.

The private sector is doing it share by heavily investing in onshore wind farms to make up for the withdrawal of government subsidies on the sector.

The announcement earned two thumbs up from former US Vice President and active clean energy campaigner Al Gore who described the new policy as an “excellent and inspiring precedent,” quotes the BBC.

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