UK Government confirms coal power phase out will be brought forward to 2024
From 1 October 2024, Great Britain will no longer use coal to generate electricity, a year earlier than planned.
The move is part of ambitious government commitments to transition away from fossil fuels and decarbonise the power sector in order to eliminate contributions to climate change by 2050.
The UK Government say that this announcement confirms the intention set out by the Prime Minister last year to bring forward the deadline to end unabated coal-fired electricity generation.
Coal is one of the most carbon intensive fossil fuels and responsible for harmful air pollution. By eliminating its use in electricity generation, the UK can make sure it plays a critical role in limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees – a key aim of its COP26 presidency.
The UK has made huge progress in reducing the use of coal across the power sector, with coal accounting for only 1.8% of the UK’s electricity mix in 2020, compared with 40% almost decade ago.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: "Coal powered the industrial revolution 200 years ago, but now is the time for radical action to completely eliminate this dirty fuel from our energy system."
"Today we’re sending a clear signal around the world that the UK is leading the way in consigning coal power to the history books and that we’re serious about decarbonising our power system so we can meet our ambitious, world-leading climate targets."
The UK went 5,000 hours without coal-fired electricity in 2020, and earlier this year broke a new wind power record, with just over a third of the country’s energy coming from wind. The rise in the use of renewables thanks to competition, free enterprise and government incentives to kick start new technologies has in turn helped to drive down the cost of green energy, with coal power now more expensive in most countries.
COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma, said: ""The next decade will be make, or break, for our planet and the most powerful way we can make a difference is to end our reliance on coal."
"Ahead of COP26, I hope the UK’s decisive step towards a cleaner, greener future sends a clear signal to friends around the world that clean power is the way forward. The impact of this step will be far greater if we can bring the world with us, and so our desire to support a clean and just energy transition is central to my discussions on the road to COP26."
30 June 2021