Building a world of
resilient communities.

MAIN LIST

 

UK: Plan to relax emission curbs to head off energy crisis

The Government is considering lifting constraints on harmful emissions from coal-fired power plants in order to ensure energy supplies in a crisis.

The highly controversial move will be welcomed by generators, who have been arguing for greater flexibility in case of emergencies. However, it will be greeted with dismay by environmental groups and could affect Britain's ability to meet targets governing sulphur and nitrogen dioxide emissions produced by coal-fired electricity plants.

The Government has made renewable sources of energy a priority in its power policy. But most experts believe it is unlikely that it will meet its target of 10 per cent of the nation's energy coming from renewables by 2010. With Britain set to become a net importer of gas by next year, security of supply has moved higher up the agenda.

Lifting emission constraints could also set the UK on a collision course with the European Union. An anti-pollution directive, the Large Combustion Plant Directive, says that a country is allowed to raise its limits on sulphur and nitrogen dioxide emissions only in exceptional circumstances.

"We are talking to government about how, in emergency situations, one could make any adjustments to emission limits," said Neil Davies, a policy manager at the Environment Agency.

"It is in the early stages but we are specifically looking at coal-fired plants and sulphur and nitrogen emissions. Will they have sufficient flexibility to meet peak demand in any crisis?

"In the short term, especially up to 2010, coal will have a role to play in the UK in terms of energy supply. Up until then, it seems a sensible policy to look at what role coal could play at peak demand," he added.

The Government has come under pressure to decide how to implement the EU directive, which comes into force in 2008. Coal industry executives have warned that adopting a "national" plan - which would set an absolute ceiling on emissions - would lead to widespread job losses.

Instead, they have advocated that Britain should opt for the alternative based on "emission limit values" (ELVs) - a system that would allow coal-fired power stations to keep producing as long as emissions reach a certain standard of cleanliness.

The Telegraph has learnt that the Government will propose to the EU that it adopt a modified approach. The generating sector would follow the ELV plan while all other sectors would have to adopt the national scheme.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.

Take action!  

Find out more about Community Resilience. See our COMMUNITIES page
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.

 

This is a community site and the discussion is moderated. The rules in brief: no personal abuse and no climate denial. Complete Guidelines.


Supreme Court Rejects Argument to Dismiss Landmark Fracking Case

The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected a motion by the country's most …

The Limits to Growth and Greece: Systemic or Financial collapse?

But, could it be that all the financial circus that we are seeing dancing in …

Earthcare, Literally Speaking

Humans often “speak to” nature, as when we assume a dominant …

The gift of clear mind: Laudato Si'

We cannot begin to say how refreshing it is to see Pope Francis face the …

Reaction to Pope's green encyclical - June 27

(Roundup) Go and pollute no more! Hispanics hear Pope's message. …

The Anthropocene Debate: Why is Such a Useful Concept Starting to Fall Apart?

The point is not that the Anthropocene should be abandoned—clearly …

EPA's New Fracking Study: A Close Look at the Numbers Buried in the Fine Print

EPA’s draft assessment made one thing clear: fracking has repeatedly …