Last week marked a historic moment in the UK’s journey to decarbonise – for the first time since the 19th Century, there was no coal-fired power station operating. We believe that Government should be congratulated on this achievement towards the target to decarbonise society.
However, the celebrations distract us from the cracks in the system that continue to grow. While we didn’t use coal we were indebted to other countries to help keep our lights on and National Grid were forced to issue emergency requests to generators and pay overinflated, excessive costs.
Sadly, the system failings are signs of a flaw in the short, medium and long term strategy. Our electricity prices are too high and while the move away from coal should be celebrated we cannot ignore the need to keep the UK competitive. According to a recent PWC report, the cost of electricity to an industrial user in the UK is close to that of Germany and France combined.
In our view the solution is simple, don’t let the existing infrastructure disappear but allow coal plants to convert to a renewable technology like biomass or waste to energy. The benefits are unquestionable in providing dependable, low carbon electricity to UK homes and businesses using our existing buildings, transport links, power network and the heritage of skills and expertise of our excellent colleagues who continue to work round the clock to power the UK.
We urge the Government to put in place the right support to allow the much needed conversion to a renewable technology.
Chief Executive Energy & Mining Divisions
SIMEC Uskmouth Power Station