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Coal Fired Power Stations: Carbon Emissions

Volume 473: debated on Thursday 13 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) what assessment has been made of the implications of new coal power plants for decarbonisation of other sectors of the economy; (189879)

(2) what assessment he has made of likely implications of spending on the proposed new power plant at Kingsnorth on the market for renewable electricity.

Given the participation of the electricity generating sector in the EU emissions trading scheme, new coal power plants will have no impact on net emissions from industries covered by the scheme. This is because these power plants will have to surrender a carbon emission allowance for each tonne of carbon dioxide they emit, meaning that those carbon allowances will not be available to enable emissions by other EU ETS participants. The EU ETS covers power generation and energy intensive industry.

The market for renewable electricity is established by the renewables obligation which requires electricity suppliers to source a minimum proportion of their supply from renewable energy. Spending on other forms of electricity generation should therefore have no effect on that market.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has been made of the possible effect of new coal power plants on the Government's greenhouse gas emission reduction targets; and if he will make a statement. (189880)

The EU emissions trading scheme ensures that total carbon emissions across EU industry and power generation sectors are restricted by a cap. Any new coal plant in the UK would have to buy allowances to emit, ensuring that equivalent carbon savings are made elsewhere, which count under the Government's approach to carbon budgeting.