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Large coal plants should be upgraded not shut, says new report

Extending the life of Europe’s largest coal-fired power stations would be the much more cost effective than shutting the facilities, according to a new report by consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Parsons Brinckerhoff said older plants forced to close in 2015 under the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) should be allowed to continue operating provided they can meet European “new plant” requirements.

It said that upgrading rather than closing was the most cost effective option for the existing coal-fired power station fleet. However, it said this could change with the introduction of carbon pricing.

The Parsons Brinckerhoff report examines existing power stations across Europe with a generating capacity of 130GW, which account for 16% of the EU’s electricity generation. Europe — and the UK — will face a significant energy gap as existing nuclear and coal-fired power stations are decommissioned towards the end of the decade. The UK faces losing 12GW of its 80GW capacity due to the IED.

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