Last year the British government promised to replace coal with natural gas and alternative energy within a decade. But according to The Guardian, the country’s last coal power plant could close down by 2022 – and without government intervention.

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Britain’s Secretary of Energy Gary Clark told the Guardian that the move sends a clear signal to the world that the U.K. is a good place to invest in clean energy. “Taking unabated coal power out of our energy mix and replacing it with cleaner technology, such as gas, will significantly reduce emissions from the UK’s energy use,” Clark noted. And the British government is clearly heeding its own advice when it comes to investing in alternative energy sources. The country is investing roughly $1.22 billion (730 million pounds), over the next two and a half years. The majority of that money is expected to go towards offshore wind farm developments.

Related: UK solar power outshined coal power plants for the entire month of May

The British government is currently examining its options for forcing its eight remaining coal power plants to close by the 2025 deadline. One option would be to change the country’s Emission Power Standard (which sets a limit on the annual carbon emissions of coal power plants based on their capacity) to a level that the dated coal plants will most likely be unable to meet. Air pollution and climate action could also make coal power an unprofitable venture in the future, which would leave the plants to die a natural death – even earlier than the government’s deadline.

Via The Guardian

Images via zrfraileyphotography and x1klima, Flickr Creative Commons