In the early hours of Tuesday May 10, Britain’s energy system passed a milestone. Between midnight and 4am, for the first time since centralised power generation began in 1882, no electricity was produced by coal. It was not a one-off, but a sign of the dramatic decline of coal in the UK. As recently as 2013, coal was the dominant fuel in the UK electricity mix, generating more than 40pc of its needs. By 2015, that had dropped to just 22pc; between April and June 2016, coal power fell to its lowest on record, at just 6pc. While some old coal plants have been shut under EU rules, those that remain are struggling – due, in large part, to one of the UK’s most divisive energy policies: the carbon tax. With Britain’s spare power capacity this winter running low and its remaining coal plants teetering on the brink of closure, the controversial levy is now at the centre of a furious battle as the Chancellor decides on its future. One the one side are industrial groups like manufacturers’ lobby EEF and petrochemicals giant Ineos, who believe the tax should be scrapped – while on the other are energy giants like SSE and EDF that argue it must be maintained or even increased.
Telegraph 15th Oct 2016 read more »