Wiggle room for coal power if system short


Coal power stations that do not fit abatement technologies will have to close on 1 October 2025 – but the government will legislate to allow them to operate in emergencies.

The department for business, energy and industrial strategy (Beis) has published its intentions for UK coal power generation following a consultation.

Coal plants that fit abatement technologies to limit emissions to 450gCO2/kWh will be allowed to remain operational. That level of emissions is broadly in line with those of gas plant, according to Beis. Those that do not will be forced to close, if market economics and other emissions directives have not already pushed them off the system.

Unabated coal plant operators will therefore be unable to bid into the capacity market auctions for delivery in winter 2025.

It is not year clear whether any arrangements may be put in place for grid services such as black start (power plants that can help ‘reboot’ the power system in the event of failure).

However, the department said it will introduce legislation that enables the secretary of state to allow coal power stations to generate in emergencies, for up to 90 days. Beis said it would give six months lead time of that requirement should it materialise.

The emissions intensity limits will apply to plant over 300MW that burn solid fossil fuels.

See the consultation here.

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