The UK government is set to close coal-fired power plants not equipped with carbon capture and storage technology from October 2025, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said.

BEIS also said that it would set an emission intensity limit of 450g of CO2 for each kilowatt hour of power generated to make sure polluting plants are shut down.

The new emissions limits will apply to power generation plants that burn solid fossil fuels and have over 300MW capacity.

Additionally, the new plan allows biomass power plants to continue operations using some coal but under the emissions limit.

As a result of the new measures, the government expects that 6GW of coal-fired power capacity currently in use to fall to 1.5GW by 2025. The shortfall, however, will be addressed through other lower-carbon forms of generation.

The government had announced its intention to take unabated coal out of the energy mix in 2015.

BEIS said: “Our assessment is that the Capacity Market will ensure that there is sufficient capacity in place to replace unabated coal units when they close.”

Commenting on the UK government’s plan, Client Earth energy lawyer Sam Bright said: “The government has kept to its commitment to phase out unabated coal generation by 2025, but we aren't convinced that this alone merits its claims to global leadership.

“Not only are other countries imposing more ambitious sunset dates, we are concerned that the door is left wide open for investments in new, long-term gas capacity, locking us into another generation of fossil fuel power. This contradicts the very rationale of the coal phaseout.”

BEIS said that it is now mulling an appropriate legislative vehicle for the introduction of the emissions intensity limit from 1 October 2025.

Image: The UK first announced its plan to phase out unabated coal fired power plants in 2015. Photo: courtesy of John Kasawa/