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UK pledges to stop funding overseas coal power stations

The UK is to end state funding for new coal-fired power stations in developing countries except in ‘rare’ cases, the government has announced.

Government money donated to poorer countries through multilateral development banks (MDBs) can currently be invested in coal plants, but the UK is now to join the US in ending this practice in most circumstances.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was unable to provide details of how much UK money is spent in this way, but research from the US Natural Resources Defence Council suggested the figure was over $500m (£310m) since 2007.

Speaking at this week’s UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, energy secretary Ed Davey said the practice conflicted with the UK’s goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

‘It is completely illogical for countries like the UK and the US to be decarbonising our own energy sectors while paying for coal-fired power plants to be built in other countries,’ he said.

‘It undermines global efforts to prevent dangerous climate change and stores up a future financial time bomb for those countries who would have to undo their reliance on coal-fired generation in the decades ahead, as we are having to do today.

‘Like the US, the UK recognises that there will be exceptions. We need to take account of new technologies such as Carbon Capture Storage and the very poorest countries where there are no alternatives. But many developing countries will soon find solar and similar energy technologies will become cheaper not just cleaner.’

A statement from DECC said the government would ‘only consider MDB proposals for financing coal-fired power plants in the world’s poorest countries where no other economically feasible alternative exists’.

Such proposals would have to show a compelling poverty reduction case and be part of a low-carbon development pathway including an option to install carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, or include full CCS deployment from the start.

The US and the World Bank made similar announcements over the summer. According to the US Natural Resources Defence Council, Japan has been the biggest funder of overseas coal plants since 2007 ($19.7bn) followed by the US ($8.9bn) and Germany ($6.0bn).

Readers' comments (10)

  • They should be funding coal powered stations in this country.

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  • Just goes to show how badly wasted overseas aid is. While we in the UK are facing power cuts due to lack of investment and closure of coal fired plants the politicians and do- gooder's have been financing coal plants overseas

    - You couldn't make it up!

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  • The UK is bleeding from every orifice and the government is giving away money to countries to make cheap fuel? Leading to cheap manufacturing which is taking away jobs from the UK. Use the money at home, its needed here.

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  • The IPCC in AR5 have taken the wind right out of the wind turbines of the climate obsessed Davey....not that there ever was much anyway:

    We see the IPCC take all the alarm out of alarming human-induced warming

    To sum up the IPCC AR5 disaster scenarios and projections:

    Abrupt collapse of Gulf Steam: Very unlikely
    Gradual irreversible ice sheet collapse: exceptionally unlikely
    Gradual irreversible permafrost net carbon release: low confidence
    Abrupt irreversible clathrate methane release: very unlikely
    Abrupt reversible tropical forest dieback: low confidence
    Abrupt reversible temperate forest dieback : low confidence
    Abrupt reversible disappearance of summer Arctic sea ice: likely, medium confidence in projection
    Abrupt reversible long-term droughts: low confidence
    Abrupt reversible monsoon collapse: low confidence

    Source: IPCC AR 5 Draft of 30th September 2013

    To add to that the IPCC have adjusted their estimate for global temperature by 2100 downwards by nearly 1 degree C

    Nothing to see here, so, erm, hang around while we dream up the next tranche of imaginary hobgoblins.

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  • The Chinese banks and equipment suppliers must be laughing at the UK, EU and the USA for making these decisions. The Chinese are moving in around the world - funding new coal-fired projects - and then ensuring their equipment manufacturers and contractors get most of the work.

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  • They should be funding coal powered stations in this country.

    Hear, hear.

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  • The New Strike Price Subsidy Summary

    These prices are guaranteed by government for electricity in the UK pool which currently trades at just £50 per MWh average pool price....

    WE, the consumers, PAY for an increasingly insecure supply system through the "green" subsidies as shown below:

    On shore wind (twice pool price)

    £100 per MWh

    Off shore wind (over three times pool price)

    £155 per MWh

    Large Solar PV (two and a half times pool price)

    £125 per MWh

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  • To summarise....
    - The technology is readily available to produce 'Clean' coal burning Power stations and as part of the 'mix' of Base load Electrical power generation provision, such stations should be built immediately in the UK.
    - It is unlikely the aid for overseas Coal fired stations was initiated by the current Govmnt so we can safely assume Coal fired stations have 'cross-party' support.

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  • In this country vermin rule the roost. But in "green Germany" the Greens want more coal fired power stations and are in fact not really opposing lignite fuelled generation.

    From Blomberg:-

    "Steag GmbH started Germany’s first new power plant fueled by hard coal in eight years, allowing the generator and energy trader to take advantage of near record-low coal prices that have widened profit margins. The plant is the first new hard-coal-fired generator in Europe’s biggest power market since 2005. It marks the start of Germany’s biggest new-build program for hard coal stations since its liberalization in 1998. Ten new hard-coal power stations, or 7,985 megawatts, are scheduled to start producing electricity in the next two years, according to information from German grid regulator Bundesnetzagentur and operators."

    Engineers in this country should wake up and realise that what the greens really want is control over every aspect of our lives. That prominent US environmentalist Ehrlich once stated that "giving people access to cheap energy was akin to giving an idiot child a machine gun"!!

    They don't want us to have cheap, affordable and reliable energy.

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  • About time too!
    This time last year The Guardian reported that more than 1000 new coal fired power stations were being planned across 59 counties worldwide. No doubt, some of them are being financed the UK foreign aid budget. UK manufacturing industry is subjected to excessively expensive energy costs and carbon levies, making their goods and services uncompetitive. Our politicians, in their wisdom, are giving our hard earned cash to our competitors in the third world, giving them access to cheap energy from dirty power stations so they can put our manufacturers out of business. Does anybody believe that these new power stations will be shut down before the end of their useful life of 30 or so years? The lunatics in the asylum at Westminster have shown why they are not fit to govern this great country

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