Britain proposes bringing coal exit forward 1 year to 2024

(Reuters) - The British government has opened a consultation on bringing forward a ban on coal-fired power generation by one year to Oct. 1, 2024, it said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Steam and smoke billow from the Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station near Nottingham, Britain, December 1, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Britain currently plans to end so called unabated coal generation, where there is no technology in place to remove resulting carbon dioxide emissions, by Oct. 1 2025.

The latest proposal is part of the government’s drive to speed up decarbonisation of the power sector and reach a net-zero economy by 2050, it said.

“Ending unabated coal generation in 2024 would mean that, in a period of 10 years, the UK would have reduced its reliance on unabated coal generation from around a third of electricity generation to zero,” the consultation paper said.

It also aligned the coal phase-out policy with the date for carbon emissions limits in the country’s capacity market.

Coal’s share of electricity generation has fallen from 39% in 2012 to less than 3% in 2019, while Britain had gone for a record 67 days with coal-free electricity generation on June 16.

At the same time, the proposed early closure was “unlikely to yield a significant reduction” in emissions given coal’s already decimated share, the government said.

“However, any reduction in emissions is positive,” it added.

The consultation, which ends on Feb. 26, formed part of a wider package of climate change policy measures presented in a White Paper on Monday.

“Subject to this consultation, we will introduce legislation to give legal effect to the end date,” the document said.

Reporting by Nora Buli in Oslo; Editing by Kirsten Donovan