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New coal power stations needed, urges business body

New coal-fired power stations should be given permission to replace retiring coal-powered stations, said the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) today.

The CBI’s position is set out in a new policy paper, The future of coal: securing electricity supply and clean coal technology.

CBI said they could be retro-fitted with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology when it becomes available which would cut carbon emissions, reducing the impact of coal-fired power stations on the environment, but they were important to help Britain improve its energy security.

The CBI believes that UK energy security could be undermined by an increasing reliance on imported gas which has to be bought at volatile prices. One third of the UK’s coal fired capacity due to close by 2015 and the remaining stations over 40 years old on average,

"We should replace retiring coal-fired power stations with limited numbers of new coal-fired stations because carbon capture and storage technology will mean that we can still meet carbon targets while improving our energy security," said CBI Deputy Director-General John Cridland

"We are confident that the new EU support package for CCS demonstration plants and the rising carbon prices that will follow from the tough EU ETS emissions caps will enable the technology to be deployed and retro-fitted to coal-fired power stations.

"But in the meantime, the UK faces an energy crisis if we do not preserve our diverse mix of power sources. The Government needs a twin track approach, permitting some new modern coal plants while also pursuing and expanding its plans for UK-based CCS demonstration, using the EU scheme and if necessary UK funds."

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