Coal has played an important role in the UK’s economic success over the past 100 years. However, coal is the most carbon intensive fossil fuel and is responsible for harmful air pollution and the consensus is that unabated coal is not consistent with meeting our decarbonisation objectives.
The UK is one of the first countries to commit to ending unabated coal generation and has cut emissions by more than 40 per cent since 1990, while our economy has grown by two thirds.
The UK has made huge progress in reducing the use of coal across the power sector, with coal accounting for only 1.5 per cent of the UK’s electricity mix in 2022, compared with 40 per cent almost a decade ago.
From 1 October 2024, the UK will no longer use coal to generate electricity, a year earlier than planned, following a consultation on bringing the date forward to 2024 from 2025. As all UK coal generators have already committed to phasing out their coal operations, it is not necessary to legislate to deliver on this commitment.
This marks a key step in UK Government’s plans to decarbonise the power sector and reach net zero by 2050.
The Government’s landmark Energy Bill, which is currently going through its final stages, is essential to this transformation. The aim of the Bill is to help increase the resilience and reliability of energy systems across the UK, support the delivery of the UK’s climate change commitments and reform the UK’s energy system while minimising costs to consumers and protecting them from unfair pricing.
To enable this, the Bill is structured around three key pillars: liberating investment in clean technologies, reforming the UK’s energy system so it is fit for the future, and maintain the safety, security and resilience of the UK’s energy system. Additional information about the Energy Bill can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/energy-security-bill
Reaching net zero remains a top priority for the UK, especially given that this will reduce dependency on Russian energy. Our new plan to reach net zero by 2050 will enable us to bring everyone on this important journey by easing the burdens on working people after a very difficult few years and by being fully transparent about the choices involved. I have shared my thoughts on the new plan to reach net zero by 2050 on my website here: https://www.mimsdavies.org.uk/news/our-new-plan-deliver-net-zero
I can assure you I will continue to work to ensure the UK remains the country with the most ambitious, stringent de-carbonisation targets in the world.