The deadline to phase out coal from Great Britain's energy system has been brought forward by a whole year, highlighting the UK’s leadership to go further in driving down emissions and tackling climate change.
From 1 October 2024 Great Britain will no longer use coal to generate electricity, a year earlier than planned, Energy and Climate Change Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan announced today (Wednesday 30 June 2021).
The move is part of ambitious government commitments to transition away from fossil fuels and decarbonise the power sector in order to eliminate contributions to climate change by 2050. Today’s announcement confirms the intention set out by the Prime Minister last year to bring forward the deadline to end unabated coal-fired electricity generation.
This brings forward the deadline to phase out coal from Great Britain’s energy system by a whole year, highlighting the UK’s leadership to go further and faster in driving down emissions and lead by example in tackling climate change ahead of hosting the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) summit in Glasgow this November. The UK is similarly calling on all nations to accelerate the phase out of coal power.
The UK government will introduce new legislation to do this at the earliest opportunity.
Coal is one of the most carbon intensive fossil fuels and responsible for harmful air pollution. By eliminating its use in electricity generation, the UK can make sure it plays a critical role in limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees – a key aim of its COP26 presidency.
The UK has made huge progress in reducing the use of coal across the power sector, with coal accounting for only 1.8% of the UK’s electricity mix in 2020, compared with 40% almost decade ago.
The announcement comes ahead of Energy and Climate Change Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan speaking at the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA) Europe Roundtable today on the importance of countries phasing out coal, and new members of the Alliance, as part of London Climate Action Week. The UK government has already ended its support for the fossil fuel energy sector overseas earlier this year.