The UK is closing all of its coal power stations

Didcot Coal Power Station

The UK's last fifteen coal power stations are to be closed within the next decade under new government plans. In an announcement, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd confirmed that in a push for more "secure, affordable, and clean energy supplies," restrictions will be placed on all coal-powered installations by 2023, ahead of a full closure by 2025.

Currently, the majority of Britain's energy is generated from burning fossil fuels. Coal accounts for 28 percent, while 48 percent is obtained via natural gas. Nuclear power stations generate around 16 percent, but they too are being retired by 2023 as the government looks to invest in safer and more reliable forms of nuclear energy.

"We are tackling a legacy of underinvestment and ageing power stations which we need to replace with alternatives that are reliable, good value for money, and help to reduce our emissions," says Rudd. "It cannot be satisfactory for an advanced economy like the UK to be relying on polluting, carbon intensive 50-year-old coal-fired power stations."

By cutting carbon emissions and investing in "a new energy infrastructure, fit for the 21st century," the government hopes to increase its reliance on renewable fuel sources like wind, wave, hydro, biomass and solar. This would help it reach the EU Renewable Energy Directive, which mandates that the UK generates at least 30 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

Although the government is no longer providing subsidies for onshore wind farms, private energy companies are still investing heavily in UK renewable energy projects. In the last month, Denmark's largest energy company, Dong, and Norway's Statoil announced they would build the world's largest offshore and floating wind farms respectively.

[Image credit: Martinrp, Flickr]