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Coal

Volume 483: debated on Tuesday 18 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the likely extent of use of clean coal in the UK in the future; and if he will make a statement. (227170)

The Government are committed to moving our electricity generation to a lower carbon mix and achieving our 2020 and 2050 climate change goals, while at the same time ensuring security of supply for UK power generation. To this end, we are committed to the EU ETS at the heart of our strategy for driving down carbon use in the most cost effective way possible; improving energy efficiency; encouraging demand reductions and increasing renewables to achieve the 15 per cent target by 2020. But coal needs to remain an important part of our energy mix. It provides the most flexible generation (increasingly needed as back up as the percentage of intermittent renewables increases in the overall mix) and an alternative to over dependence on gas. We are supporting development of clean coal technologies including carbon capture and storage, higher efficiency processes, and co-firing with biomass. Our ambition is to see CCS commercially deployable by 2020. The extent of coal’s future use will depend on decisions by operators and technological development; modelling commissioned to inform our Renewable Energy Strategy consultation estimated that for a central case around 2.5 GW of new coal-fired generation could be added to the mix by 2020.