Wiggle room for coal power if system short


As an efficient way to proceed with the phase-out plan, it has decided it will set up stricter emissions intensity limits to coal generating units, to offer coal operators flexibility in case they are interested in investing in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) or similar technologies to reduce emissions levels to acceptable levels - that is 450g of carbon per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

As part of its efforts to meet the country's climate targets, Britain in 2015 announced it would end "unabated" coal-fired power generation - plants without technology to capture and store carbon emissions - by 2025.

The release of the consultation delivers a concrete plan to meet a long-held promise to ensure unabated coal comes off the United Kingdom power system by 2025, and is widely seen as a vital step towards ensuring the United Kingdom meets its legally binding target of cutting emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

However, it is believed that it would be uneconomical for coal power plant owners to make such investment.

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Since Britain introduced a tax on Carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in 2013, coal power generation has plummeted, with the country past year seeing its first day of coal-free power generation since the industrial revolution in the 19th century. The government already estimates that all these power plants are unprofitable, not only due to carbon taxes but also due to low gas prices.

However, no additional constraints will be placed on coal power generation before this date, and the emissions limit will not apply to plants burning other fuels such as gas, the government confirmed.

Greenpeace UK head of energy Hannah Martin praised the plan as "significant progress on making coal history", adding that the government shared credit for this with millions of UK citizens who had supported the move.

Ministers said that they would implement limits on the amount of carbon dioxide that coal plants can emit from October 1, 2025.