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Energy Secretary announces plans to construct new gas power plants in UK

New gas power plants

In a statement from the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ), Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho set out her plan to boost UK gas power capacity, which she argues is backed up by comments from the Climate Change Committee (CCC). The CCC report she is referring to, ‘Delivering a reliable decarbonised power system, March 2023’, does acknowledge that a “small amount of unabated gas capacity” is consistent with a decarbonised power system, but this should be futureproofed as much as possible with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.

The Energy Secretary’s plans, however, do not indicate any intention to incorporate CCS technologies in the new power plants at all.

The last remaining coal-burning plant, Ratcliffe-on-Soar in Nottinghamshire, is due to close in September 2024. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, writing in the Daily Telegraph about the plans for new gas power plants, said: “A nation that is dependent on the whims of dictators for its energy supply can never be truly safe”. That is apparently the key motivation behind the plans: energy security. But Greenpeace’s senior policy adviser, Liam Hardy, argues that the lack of inclusion of CCS technologies within these new plants thwarts any progress we have made towards net zero. 



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