A future that curbs emissions from new coal fired power stations, and will see the UK lead the world in the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, was proposed by UK Secretary for Energy and Climate Change Ed Miliband today.
Miliband set out to Parliament proposals for the basis on which coal fired power which will be permitted in the future. These include, no new coal without CCS demonstration from day one, and a full scale retrofit of CCS within five years of the technology being independently judged as technically and commercially proven.
The Government will also seek views on whether it is possible to implement these conditions through an emissions performance standard, according to a statement.
Miliband said, ‘The future of coal in our energy mix poses the starkest dilemma we face: it is a polluting fuel but is used across the world because it is cheap and it is flexible enough to meet fluctuations in demand for power.
‘In order to ensure that we maintain a diverse energy mix, we need new coal-fired power stations but only if they can be part of a low carbon future.
‘With a solution to the problem of coal, we greatly increase our chances of stopping dangerous climate change. Without it we will not succeed.
‘CCS is the only technology with the potential to reduce emissions from fossil fuels by up to 90 per cent. But there must be a global effort to develop this technology and the UK is in a strong position to lead this charge.
‘This signals the era of unabated coal is coming to an end, and a new low carbon future for coal with CCS can begin.
“‘There is no alternative to CCS if we are serious about fighting climate change and retaining a diverse mix of energy sources for our economy,’he added.
The new demonstrations will be funded by an incentive mechanism as announced by the Chancellor yesterday. Proposals for how the incentive will work are being developed, according to a statement.
Coal currently accounts for 37 per cent (29GW) of the UK’s electricity capacity. This is set to decline to 21GW as stations close in accordance with EU controls on sulphur and nitrogen emissions that cause acid rain.
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