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Energy Crisis Could Force The UK To Keep Using Coal

The UK government introduced to Parliament on Wednesday the Energy Security Bill, a proposed legislation that does not explicitly confirm the UK’s pledge to end coal use by October 2024.

The bill, the goal of which is to “deliver a cleaner, more affordable, and more secure energy system,” doesn’t mention coal, Bloomberg notes, while a spokesperson for the Department of Energy, Business and Industrial Strategy didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg for comment.

The UK said last year it would bring forward its target to end coal use in electricity generation by one year, to October 2024, as part of its aim to lead the world in tackling climate change. The UK also tried to persuade countries in the COP-26 climate summit in Glasgow last autumn to pledge to ditch coal as soon as possible.

The UK has slashed coal use in the past decade as wind power has gained a massive market share in the country’s electricity generation. On Monday, no power generated in Britain came from coal, system operator National Grid ESO said.

However, the gas and energy crisis in Europe and the cost-of-living crisis in the UK with soaring energy bills may have prompted the government to not explicitly pledge again an end to coal in two years’ time.

Natural gas held the largest share of power generation on Monday, at 35.6%, more than wind with 34.0%, according to National Grid ESO.

Although the UK North Sea produces a lot of gas, Britain also relies on imports from Norway and gas imports via interconnectors from Belgium and the Netherlands during the winter months. A worsening of the current gas and energy crisis in mainland Europe would be felt throughout the UK, where customers are already grappling with a surge in the cost of living and the highest inflation in forty years.

The UK is also considering cutting off gas supply via two interconnectors to mainland Europe under an emergency plan that would be triggered in case of severe gas shortages in Britain, the Financial Times reported last week.  

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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