Coal-fired Power Stations — [Joan Ryan in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:19 pm on 27th April 2016.

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Photo of Phil Boswell Phil Boswell Scottish National Party, Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill 3:19 pm, 27th April 2016

As other hon. Members said, some plants are more susceptible to conversion than others. As the hon. Gentleman said, it makes sense to sweat out the value of power stations that we have already paid for. It very much depends on the technology. We must evaluate whether power stations are fit for purpose on a case-by-case basis. The secret is to create a world-leading industry. We had the opportunity to do so through carbon capture and storage, which would have enabled us to sell CCS, develop it, increase it from 90% of emissions to 92%, 94% and 96%, and create an industry and a supply chain in the UK for exportation and exploitation around the world.

Ironically, the Chancellor said explicitly that his latest Budget was

“a Budget for the next generation.”

It is not, and the bleak legacy left for the next generation is nothing to be proud of—skills shortages; a lack of research, development and innovation; and the wider economic implications of the UK having an import-led energy sector. Those are the results of the Government’s complete mishandling of energy. The failure to seize the opportunity that carbon capture and storage presents to the UK and rest of the world for managing the effects of the continued use of coal-fired power will sound the death knell for coal-fired power in the UK. That missed opportunity is one more failure in the long list of the Government’s energy policy failures. It will create a toxic financial legacy, which will be a problem for future generations.