The UK is to embark on a major gas power plant building programme after energy secretary Amber Rudd said replacing existing coal-fired plants would be a priority over the next decade.
Amber Rudd said gas will be central to the UK’s future energy mix and said it was “imperative that new gas-fired power stations were built”.
This will be done by closing all of the UK’s coal-fired plants by 2025, which would free up space for new gas plants, she said.
“One of the greatest and most cost-effective contributions we can make to emission reductions in electricity is by replacing coal-fired power stations with gas.”
Ms Rudd was delivering a speech at the Institution of Civil Engineers in London, in which she outlined the UK’s energy policy strategy for the next decade.
This included plans to phase out all coal-fired power stations over the next ten years, restricting its use from 2023.
“If we take this step, we will be one of the first developed countries to deliver on a commitment to take coal off the system,” Ms Rudd said.
“But let me be clear, we’ll only proceed if we’re confident that the shift to new gas can be achieved within these timescales.”
The energy secretary said the government would remain tough on renewable subsidies, reduce the cost of offshore wind and get nuclear off the ground.
She added: “Opponents of nuclear misread the science. It is safe and reliable.
“It is imperative we do not make the mistakes of the past and just build one nuclear power station.
“There are plans for a new fleet of nuclear power stations, including at Wylfa and Moorside.”