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Electricity Generation (Coal)

Energy and Climate Change – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 9th July 2009.

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Photo of Siân James Siân James Labour, Swansea East 10:30 am, 9th July 2009

What his policy is on the use of coal in electricity generation; and if he will make a statement.

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Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

Coal power stations play a vital role in providing reliable and affordable electricity supplies. The Government believe that new coal power stations in the UK will be important in retaining the diversity and security of our energy supplies, but only if they can be built and operated in a way that is consistent with our climate change goals.

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Photo of Siân James Siân James Labour, Swansea East

In 2008, we were 31 per cent. dependent on coal for our electricity supplies in this country. It has been, and remains, a valuable source of fuel. I am pleased that the Secretary of State recognises that, but we must not underestimate the role that coal—particularly carbon-abated coal—has to play in the future mix of renewables, coal, gas and nuclear. Coal needs to play an important role.

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Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

My hon. Friend speaks very knowledgably about this subject as a result of her background. It is important that we have coal as part of the energy mix. The problem in this debate arises when we try to pick and choose from the low-carbon technologies that are available; the truth is that we need all of them. We need clean coal, renewables and nuclear, as she has pointed out. All of them must play a part in overcoming the enormous challenge of tackling climate change.

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