Two of Britain’s largest energy suppliers are more reliant on coal than they were in 2005.
That’s according to new figures released to the government by the Big Six energy companies.
British Gas and SSE, which hold more than 40% of the market between them, are undermining attempts to cut the UK’s CO2 emissions, experts have said.
Coal produces twice as much CO2 as gas.
In the past 10 years the percentage of electricity generated from renewable sources has grown by 400% – yet total carbon emissions from generation have only fallen by around 8%.
This is due to the Big Six energy companies buying more than a third of the energy they sell from coal-fired power stations.
Last year, 22% of the electricity sold by British Gas came from coal generation, whereas in 2005 the figure was 14%.
Just more than 31% of SSE’s electricity was generated from coal compared with 29% in 2005.
Other companies appear to have been more successful at reducing their coal dependency. EDF produced 46% of its electricity from coal in 2005 but this has been cut to 26.8%.
Electricity generated by coal emits around 910 grams of CO2 per kWh compared with 390g for gas generation and nothing for nuclear or renewable power.
Experts said many companies have opted to continue buying electricity generated from coal because it is more profitable.