UK Coal Burners to Receive Lavish Subsidies Ahead of 2025 Phaseout
The United Kingdom has begun laying out its plans to eliminate coal-fired electricity generation by 2025, but will still hand the sector hundreds of millions of pounds in subsidies over the next several years, The Guardian reports.
“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,” said energy analyst Dr. Jonathan Marshall of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit. The payments will fund coal generators to stand by in case they’re needed to supply backup power to the grid.
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“While three plants shut in 2016, and most are expected to halt operations by 2022, the last ones standing will be forced to close in October 2025 because of new pollution standards,” The Guardian notes, in an article republished by the Cleveland-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. But experts like Marshall still called the capacity payments an unnecessary lifeline.
“Ministers will also retain emergency powers to suspend the phaseout in case of an emergency shortfall in electricity supplies,” The Guardian adds. “But officials said it was unlikely those powers would be called on, because the gap created by the coal plants’ closure would probably be filled by old gas power stations staying open longer.”
Prime Minister Theresa May was expected to announce the phaseout, one of her party’s signature green priorities, this week. At the United Nations climate conference in Bonn last November, UK Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Minister Claire Perry joined with Canadian Environment and Climate Minister Catherine McKenna to launch the Powering Past Coal Alliance, an effort by 25 jurisdictions (with more signing on a month later) to jump-start a global coal phaseout.