The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Old King Coal Sent to the Dole

20 November 2015 | Updated 01 January 1970

In a speech delivered by the Secretary of State of DECC to the Institution of Civil Engineers Amber Rudd this week, Amber Rudd stated that coal powered stations would be closed by 2025.

“Frankly, 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,” argued Ms Rudd. “We need to build a new energy infrastructure, fit for the twenty-first century.”

She acknowledged achieving this would be difficult, particularly as coal has 20% of the energy market but said that gas would make up the difference by 2025, along with the commissioning by then of new nuclear facilities, particularly at Hinkley Point C. (Trades unions, like the GMB, have welcomed the decision by the government to invest in new nuclear facilities.) Although not spelling out the role of shale gas in this new mix, Ms Rudd made clear it would play an important role.

The role of renewables in UK policy has been criticised recently with the demise of the ill-fated Green Deal along with cut backs to feed-in-tariffs and the level of subsidies for the solar and wind farm sectors.

Environmental concern

Greenpeace welcomed the news of the phasing out of coal. “As the country that used coal to start the industrial revolution, it is right that we celebrate this historic moment as the UK becomes the first major economy to turn away from this deadly, polluting source of energy,” declared John Sauven, Executive Director, Greenpeace UK. “Amber Rudd's speech marks a welcome end for the use of coal.” Despite this Sauven argued that the government had to prioritise renewable energy to power the UK in the future.

Friends of the Earth’s assessment was more scathing with its Senior Energy Campaigner, Simon Bullock, particularly dismissive. “Switching from coal to gas is like an alcoholic switching from two bottles of whisky a day to two bottles of port.”

The solar energy sector was less than convinced by Rudd’s speech. Paul Barwell, CEO, the Solar Trade Association (STA) argued that there was little point in replacing “fossil coal only with fossil gas. Solar has grown from providing 0% to the current 2% of UK electricity supply within just the last five years and could get to 5% by 2020 with very little extra support. There is plenty of room to include solar alongside gas and nuclear in the coal phase out.”

Picture: On the way out – coal fired stations, like Didcot in Oxfordshire will be phased out by 2025 according to Secretary of State, Amber Rudd

Article written by Mike Gannon | Published 20 November 2015


Related Articles

The Planet Mark Offer Sustainability Investment with Crowdfunder

The Planet Mark is partnering with Crowdfunder, the UK’s number one crowdfunding platform, to deliver sustainability funding to entrepreneurs and...

 Read Full Article
Six Ways Facilities Managers Can Plan For A More Sustainable Future

In honour of Earth Day, here are six simple ways facilities managers can plan for a more sustainable future.  It’s a common misconception that making...

 Read Full Article
Acorn Sustainability Report

Acorn Engineering Group has published its first free Sustainability Report which looks at the environmental and social performance of the business over calendar year...

 Read Full Article
Corporate Societal Impact - What Are The Measures?

A study has examined the methods companies use to measure their impact on society. The Conference Board (with bases in a number of countries) has released a study with...

 Read Full Article
Cradle to Cradle Not Cradle To Grave

Our Circular Economy needs to include the concept of Cradle to Cradle cleaning writes, Gary Fage - whilst trying to unravel some of the buzz words in the environment...

 Read Full Article
Making EV Accessible - BP Agrees Chargemaster Charge

June 28 saw BP enter into an agreement to purchase Chargemaster, the UK’s largest electric vehicle charging company. Chargemaster operates the UK’s largest...

 Read Full Article
Charities Benefit From Green Rewards

Green Rewards works with a number of corporate, local authority and university clients to provide bespoke services to engage and reward people for following sustainable...

 Read Full Article
Plugging In To The Charging Market

FM provider ABM?UK has reached an agreement with ChargePoint, the electric vehicle (EV) charging network. ABM now has the rights to distribute, install and maintain...

 Read Full Article
Waste Crime Costs UK £560 Million A Year

In October, the government said fly tipping and simple littering was costing the country £560 million a year. Since then, both the Local Government Association and...

 Read Full Article
Excuse Me While I Kiss The Sky - Embracing The Tree In The Hendrikx Experience

A proposal to create the world’s first growing architecture, involving tree-like buildings that absorb CO2, has won the BSRIA and Designing Buildings Wiki...

 Read Full Article