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DECC to shut down coal plants by 2023

coal stationsThe Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will vow to shut down all coal-fired power plants by 2023.

The UK still has 10 remaining coal-fired power stations and these will either be closed or converted to alternative fuels.

This came about after the EU Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) ordered plants to reduce the amount of toxic particles they spew out or be forced to close by 2023. However this directive wouldn’t stop some plants from operating. They’ll simply add filter technology to reduce NOX emissions, to an existing coal plant rather than build a new costly gas or renewable facility. These filters however do nothing to reduce the carbon emissions of the station.

The DECC said: “While fossil fuels have a role to play in meeting our energy demands, evidence shows that coal as a percentage of total generation has fallen from 40 per cent in 2012 to 29 per cent in 2014. This reflects the fact that a number of coal power stations have closed in recent years and we expect this trend to continue.”

The government will now reportedly be focused on keeping bills as low as possible for both hardworking families and businesses and ensuring UK energy supplies are secure and reliable.

While coal power generation is steadily dropping year on year, it still produced around 30% of UK electricity last year, more than nuclear and renewables. It looks like the government will have to ramp up renewables and nuclear development to fill the gap in the next 8 years.

It’s a worrying pledge to make leaving the UK in precarious position with regard to a secure energy supply. With coal-fired generation capacity set to diminish, will the public see the effects on their energy bills? The government have promised to keep bills low, yet they plan to keep raising the cost of carbon energy, which will directly impact the consumers.

The government seem to be moving away from renewable technologies, having cut subsidies and planned developments so is this deadline realistic?

Will they simply push for fracking and more nuclear plants opening the environment up to potential risks?

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