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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:34 pm on 27th April 2016.

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Photo of Alan Whitehead Alan Whitehead Shadow Minister (Energy and Climate Change) 3:34 pm, 27th April 2016

Indeed, Ms Ryan, I am about to conclude my remarks, having revealed my thoughts on the idea a gas-fired power station at Rugeley. However, before I do so, I want to spend a minute on the question of whether that conversion is feasible under existing arrangements in the capacity market. At the moment, the market provides either underwriting for existing power stations to continue to supply, or the possibility of contracts for new power stations, but there does not appear to be a category within them to enable conversion to take place—certainly not in the 15-year period.

I encourage the hon. Member for Cannock Chase to talk to DECC about whether the capacity market might be amended to take account of such arrangements. A number of coal-fired power stations have been converted to gas recently in the United States, so it is technically feasible. It depends on the kind of power station. Nevertheless, it certainly makes sense—if we are to have new gas-fired power stations anyway, why not have a gas-fired power station where a coal-fired one was? We would not then have the problem of how long the gas-fired station would need to operate over the next period. If that can be done, it would be a positive addition to our fleet of power stations and might be a solution that could apply to other former coal-fired power stations.