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No more coal, no new gas – it’s vital the UK government invests in our clean future

A new report has found that the UK does not need to use new-build gas as a stepping stone as it transitions ‘from coal to clean’. The report is based on the government’s own figures.

ClientEarth is calling on policymakers to show international leadership and give more support to genuine clean energy innovation.

CEO James Thornton said: “The UK has a chance to stride ahead, now that coal is consigned to the past. We don’t need new gas as a stop-gap – and we can also be inventive with how we create and use energy.

“It’s not about replacing all of our previous fossil fuel capacity with the exact equivalent in renewables. We need to see support for innovations that make us more efficient: spreading energy use throughout the day, stopping hidden wastage, and building in battery storage to increase what renewables can do for us. Large-scale fossil fuels have dominated for decades and the government now needs to divert its support to give important clean energy innovations space to come into their own.”

Renewables that come in to provide power no longer coming from fossil fuels must be truly clean – and genuinely renewable. The analysis in the report is based on government data, and therefore reflects energy the UK will get from large-scale woodburning. Biomass plants currently running or commissioned in the UK have been justified because they are classed as ‘renewable’ generators – thanks to some tenuous logic. ClientEarth has frequently expressed concerns on this topic.

This is why it is so important that the government focuses on genuinely green renewable technologies – like solar and wind – and invests in innovative ways to reduce and streamline energy use to reduce overall burden on the grid.

James added: “The energy sector could be on the brink of a major revolution in the UK and it’s absolutely vital the government facilitates it. Our energy transition could form the basis of a desperately needed international blueprint.”

Sandbag has called for several actions from the UK government to guarantee a cleaner trajectory beyond coal.

Read ‘Coal to Clean – how the UK phased out coal without a dash for gas’ – a report by WWF and Sandbag.

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