Engineers report calls for coal power capacity to be extended

A report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers has warned that Britain faces electricity shortages if it opts to close down all coal-fired power plants by 2025.

The engineering body says the country is not building replacement gas-fired power plants quick enough to compensate for the losses.
Houses of Parliament
Under a business as usual scenario, the country's electricity supplies "can only be secured by granting an extension to existing coal-fired power stations," the report said.

Coal-fired power plants provided 25 per cent of the UK’s electricity in the first nine months of 2015, government data showed.

The report went on to state that if the coal plant closures are combined with the shuttering of ageing nuclear plants there could be a supply gap of 40-55 per cent, based on current typical supply.

Britain would also need to build about 30 new gas plants in less than 10 years to plug the gap, which looks unrealistic given current weak electricity prices.

SSE, Drax, E.ON, EDF Energy, RWE and Engie all chose this month to put some of their coal plants into a government scheme which means they could be modified in due course to meet emissions targets under the EU's Industrial Emissions Directive (IED).

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