The UK will have closed its ageing fleet of nuclear power stations and all its coal-fired power stations by 2025, Stephen Lovegrove has confirmed.
These two sources currently account for 22% and 35% of power generation.
“We are right in the middle of attracting an unprecedented amount of investment in energy generation,” the permanent secretary at the Department of Energy & Climate Change told CERAWeek delegates on Thursday. Between GBP100-120 billion (USD150-180 billion) of investment would have to come from the private sector.
Lovegrove said the country’s energy mix would require a new nuclear programme, a lot more renewables capability and “a massive investment in gas-fired power”. The government is offering contractual obligations to lock both public and private parties into the business in a move designed to provide long-term certainty and thereby lower the cost of capital and technology, rather than make the change a policy initiative. Experience elsewhere has shown that route offers less certainty, so higher cost.
Coal production in the UK peaked in 1952, declining steadily thereafter. The country’s coal-fired power stations no longer burn British coal. A policy that includes a large contribution from gas will require further investment in LNG handling, regasification and distribution infrastructure.