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BSRIA concerned by coal closure announcement

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The closure of the coal-fired stations in 10 years’ time without a clear and practical alternative has been deemed ambitious by BSRIA. Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, recently gave a speech that in BSRIA’s opinion did not indicate an incisive energy efficiency statement that would have been helpful as part of the UK drive towards 2050 obligations.

Only if gas-fuelled power can fill the void created by closing coal-powered stations would coal plants be shut, she said. But BSRIA is concerned little is being done to promote renewables with no real commitment given.

Currently, coal provides about a quarter of the UK's electricity, Ms Rudd said that it is imperative we do not repeat the mistakes of the past and just build one nuclear power station. In the next 10 years, BSRIA argue that it is imperative that we get new gas-fired power stations built as well as investing in the web of supply that stretches across Europe. Additionally BSRIA would contest that investment in nuclear must not be at the expense of renewables.

Julia Evans, Chief Executive, BSRIA, said: “The government has abandoned the cheapest forms of power – onshore wind and solar energy. We need some gas fired stations, however, these need to be partnered with investment in renewables and nuclear. BSRIA is anxious about the shrinking investment in renewables coupled with imprecise policy statements that will weaken this part of the market. The government keeps changing tack on its energy policy – this is discouraging investment. Investors will only invest if they have confidence; Government needs to lead on this.

Environmentalists say nuclear and gas power are not the cheapest form of energy in the long run. Not only are renewable energies cleaner, but because the sun and the wind are free – then ultimately these technologies offer better value for money. Of course the UK cannot rely on renewables alone as yet so improvements in energy storage technologies are needed. Renewable energy should never be dismissed because of current concerns about reliability or continuity of supply.”

Ms Rudd's speech comes ahead of the UN summit on climate change in Paris in December, aimed at securing a new global climate change agreement.

Adapted from press release by Joseph Green

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