Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd is expected to announce a new energy policy that will see the country's ageing coal power plants shut down by 2025. The coal power plants will be replaced by gas plants, with Rudd also pitching for new nuclear power plants.
"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. Let me be clear: this is not the future," Rudd will say, according to The Telegraph. Last year, coal produced 29% of the country's electricity.
"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. Gas is central to our energy-secure future. In the next 10 years, it's imperative that we get new gas-fired power stations built," Rudd will say.
Environmental groups have lauded the government's move to discontinue coal power plants. However, they have urged it to focus more on renewable energy. Industry investors say the government's deadline for the closure of coal power plants would reduce the flow of funds from overseas investors, money that could be used for the maintenance of the plants till they are shut down.
With the 2025 deadline, questions have been raised as to how the country will meet its electricity demand. There are also concerns about whether the government has control over the situation.
"We now have an electricity system where no form of power generation, not even gas-fired power stations, can be built without government intervention," Rudd will say, according to the BBC. "And a legacy of ageing, often unreliable plant. Perversely, the dirtiest fossil fuel, coal, remains a major part of the system."
Britain and China recently signed a multi-billion pound deal to build a nuclear plant at Hinkley Point C, which is expected to start generating power in the mid-2020s.