On Wednesday, the British government announced plans to close all coal-fired power plants by 2025 and restrict their use by 2023.
“It cannot be satisfactory for an advanced economy like the U.K. to be relying on polluting, carbon intensive 50-year-old coal-fired power stations,” said Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd. “Let me be clear, this is not the future. We need to build a new energy infrastructure, fit for the 21st century.”
Shortly before this announcement, the first State of the Energy Union Report was released by the European Commission, which shows the progress made since the adoption of the Energy Union Framework Strategy 9 months ago. The purpose of which was to bring about the transition to a low-carbon, secure and competitive economy.
According to the report, the European Union is on track to meet the 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 20% below the 1990 level, however, further measures are needed to meet the 2030 target of at least 40%.
Coal still accounts for 30% of U.K.’s electricity, Rudd said.
“If we take this step, we will be one of the first developed countries to deliver on a commitment to take coal off the system,” Rudd said.
The idea is to replace the coal-fired plants with gas-fired plants; increase renewables over the next five years; and build new nuclear power stations in the longer term.
The government will consult in the spring on when to close all coal-fired power stations and will set out proposals to close unabated coal-fired power stations by 2025 and restrict use from 2023.
“By 2025, with a new nuclear power station built, offshore wind competing with other renewables, unabated coal a thing of the past, and smart energy coming into its own we will have transformed our energy system,” Rudd said.
This announcement comes less than two weeks before the United Nations climate change conference commences in Paris on November 30.