UK dash for gas-fired electricity is riddled with risk

Unsurprisingly, there was jubilation in some circles at the UK government’s announcement yesterday that all coal-fired power stations in the country will shut by 2025 unless carbon capture systems are developed.

That’s a natural reaction, given their polluting nature, although there are legitimate questions as to how much this is due to policy, and how many of them would have closed anyway due to age and environmental regulations.

But the really important question is: what will they be replaced with? The UK government says new gas-fired power stations will take up most of the slack.

These produce a fair bit less carbon dioxide than coal-fired power stations and so, in theory, it looks like an environmental gain for a nation that is committed to meeting its legally binding carbon emission targets. But there is a very large catch.

The problem is private investors will only …

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