The UK has put the world another step closer to ridding itself of coal with the closure of three more polluting power stations. Last week, Longannet – Scotland’s last coal-fired power station – and Ferrybridge shut its doors.
Today, Yorkshire based Eggborough follows suit, remaining available only for emergency back-up.
Another station Fiddlers Ferry was also due to shutdown this week, but obtained an additional contract to keep some of its units open, while this spring Rugeley power plant in Staffordshire is expected to join the list of closures.
Together, the three closures will save 20 million tonnes of CO2, take UK government closer to its target to phase out unabated coal use by 2025, and set an example for Europe’s other coal-hungry government’s to follow.
With a growing appetite from renewables and increasing evidence to show that getting out of coal will protect lives, shield governments from an increasingly volatile coal market, and help them meet their emission reduction targets, there is little argument left for any country to continue investing in this dirtiest of energy sources.
- The UK’s coal plants are old, and over ripe for retirement. The UK’s aging coal-fired power stations are some of the most polluting in Europe, and in 2014 were responsible for 20 per cent of the country’s CO2 emissions. As the UK looks to increase air quality and decrease emissions, ending old coal is both “expected and necessary”, and its decline was a key factor in the 10 per cent fall in UK emissions in 2014 and a further 4.3 per cent drop last year.
- Ending coal saves lives. Coal power stations are responsible for around 1,600 premature deaths in the UK every single year, 363,000 lost working days and £1.1 to 3.1 billion in health costs annually, while European coal plants cause 18,200 premature deaths and health problems valued at up to €43 billion each year. By ending the use of coal and supporting the growing renewables sector countries could save lives and provide greener, healthier jobs for its citizens.
- The UK has put the world another step closer to ending dirty coal. As countries from China to the US make bold moves away from coal, the renewables industry is booming; bringing jobs, improving health and putting a dent in global emission levels. As the world collectively moves towards a zero-emission future, those countries continuing to back coal have nowhere to hide as they continue to gamble their economies and their citizens lives.