It has been reported that Gordon Brown is to back the construction of a new generation of coal fired power stations. FFPOWER companies are now being given permission to construct at least two new coal-fired stations with a view to more being built at later stages.
It’s a controversial move that is guaranteed to anger environmental campaigners and climate change scientists as burning coal produces more CO2 for each unit of energy generated than any other type of fuel. The argument is that as old plants are shutting down, Britain needs the new coal power stations to prevent future power shortages. Brown is also insisting that any new plants built will be fitted with a new technology that will capture CO2 and store it underground, however this technology has never been tested on an active power station before, thus can not be proven.
It seems ironic that this long after the closure of Britain’s coal-mines we are now taking a U-turn. Coal-fired power plants are not the only way of generating energy but are the most attractive option when it comes to price and availability. Britain has enough coal resources to provide us with energy for hundreds of years to come, however climate scientists may argue that the human race won’t be around for that long if countries continue to pump an increased amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. It will be interesting to see how the government tackle the delicate balancing of a need for affordable energy and a need to protect the environment by reducing carbon emissions.
A spokesperson for the energy and climate change department run by David Miliband released a statement saying, “we see new coal generation as having a potentially important role to play in securing Britain’s electricity supply, but we also recognise the need to deal with CO2 emissions”.
New technology from Australia, pioneered by White Energy is also a factor in the desirability of coal-power stations. This technology allows low grade coal collected through open cast reserves to be upgraded to a better quality through a unique drying process.
Protecting the new power stations from angry protesters may also become an issue. The Greenpeace website reported that Greenpeace activists in Australia managed to blockade Australia’s most polluting coal-fired power station to call for an Energy Revolution. Entering the plant in the early hours of the morning, 16 activists were able to lock themselves to the conveyors that distribute the coal. Similar scenes could be expected in England if the government is not seen fitting CO2 reducing technology as soon as Gordon Brown promised