Britain has announced plans to close its coal-fired power plants by 2025, becoming the first major economy to put a date on shutting coal plants to curb carbon emissions. As David Pollard reports, shares in one of the biggest operators in the coal power industry plunged on the news.
Coal is dead - long live .... gas. UK energy minister Amber Rudd wants Britain to shut its coal-fired plants by 2025. They provided around a third of the country's electricity last year. SOUNDBITE (English) UK ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE MINISTER, AMBER RUDD, SAYING: "It cannot be satisfactory for an advanced economy like the UK to be relying on polluting, carbon-intensive 50-year-old coal fired power stations. Let me be clear: this is not the future." The future is nuclear, and natural-gas fired power plants to supplement renewables. That's if there's enough of them. Reportedly, only one gas plant is being built - another struggling to find investors. And a government cut in subsidies to renewables earlier this year shocked the industry. This policy consultation, as it's been labelled, also appearing to take some by surprise. Though Drax - operator of Europe's largest coal plants - put a brave face on a near 5% plunge in its share price. CEO Dorothy Thompson. SOUNDBITE (English) DRAX GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE, DOROTHY THOMPSON, SAYING: "We recognised years ago, literally ten years ago, that coal has a limited life, and we've implemented this strategy to replace coal generation with biomass, using this really innovative technology. So for us, this was just a timing on a journey." Climate change campaigner Al Gore says the move demonstrates 'leadership' ahead of the Paris climate conference. Friends of the Earth were not so amicable - the policy was, they said, like an alcoholic switching from two bottles of whisky a day - to two bottles of port.