Coal currently accounts for 37% (29GW) of the UK’s electricity capacity, generating 31% of the UK’s electricity in 2008.
Coal emits more carbon dioxide per unit of electricity produced than all other forms of generation and in April 2009, the Government outlined proposals for a new regime for new coal-fired power stations.
The proposals are set out in a recently published Consultation Document “A Framework for the Development of Clean Coal”.
The document sets out the UK’s intention to invigorate global action on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) which will bring direct benefits to the economy (estimated to be between £2 to 4 billion a year) by placing the UK firmly at the forefront of a technology area that could develop into a multi billion global market.
The proposals under consultation include:
- providing financial support for up to four commercial-scale CCS demonstrations
- requiring any new coal power station in England and Wales to demonstrate CCS on a defined part of its capacity
- requiring new coal power stations to retrofit CCS to their full capacity within five years of CCS being independently judged technically and economically proven (expected to be by 2020)
- preparing for the possibility that CCS will not become proven by 2020
Michael Metcalfe, Partner and Head of Carter Jonas' Minerals & Waste Management Division commented: "In issuing this consultation document the Government has recognised the important contribution that coal will make towards meeting the future energy needs of the country.
"The historic image of dirt, grime and landscapes dominated by spoil tips will be transformed as new, clean coal technology is developed. Coal is a core part of the UK’s energy mix and developing clean coal technology is the key to reducing the impact of coal-fired power stations on the environment."
The consultation runs until 9 September 2009.
More information, including the Framework for the Development of Clean Coal, can be found on the Department of Energy and Climate Change website.