Coal is a very messy fuel source, and not just from a carbon dioxide perspective. It's nasty, polluting, and it's difficult to get out of the ground. So it really shouldn't be a surprise that its on the way out, and the government just announced new plans that will accelerate that in this country.
Today the government announced that from 2025, all coal power stations within the UK will need to be fitted with carbon capture technology. It's a plan that was originally announced back in 2015, though that just promised "unbated" coal stations, ie those without any carbon capture technology, would be closed in 2025. Today, though, it was announced that there would be an emission limit of 450 grams of carbon per kilowatt hour of energy produced.
Any power stations that can't meet that limit will be closed down.
Currently coal power capacity is six gigawatts, which is enough to power six million homes or 4.95 flux capacitors. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy says that number is expected to fall to 1.25 GW by 2025 anyway, with other forms of energy production picking up the slack. According to the government, coal power only accounted for 2.1 per cent of energy produced during Q2 2017 - a 3.8 per cent reduction from Q2 2016.
A large number of the UK's nuclear power stations are also set to close in the late 2020s, with very few new ones being built to replace them. Seeing as how Nucelar energy accounted for 22.6 per cent of energy production in Q2 2017, some might be wondering how we're going to generate all the energy we need. Increased reliance on renewable sources is one, but the government also reformed the capacity market last year - paying power stations to ensure there is a back-up supply of electricity available at short notice.
The BEISS believes that this will be enough to satiate Britain's energy needs once unbated coal power stations start shutting down. [Reuters]