Modern coal is the way forward

By Mike Tarrant

Published on Friday, August 29, 2014 - 12:00



From Mike Tarrant, Bembridge:

The on-going debate in the letters pages on the UK’s energy future tends to focus on wind against nuclear.

While both of these are important, I feel the most important element if too often overlooked. 

The world has 400 years of coal supplies. 

Modern, ultra-critical coal plants can produce electricity at fuel to energy rates of 52 per cent, higher than modern gas plants, which operate at 45 per cent, and much higher than the current crop of UK plants, such as Drax and Eggborough, which run at 35 per cent. This increase in efficiency means the new plants produce much less carbon dioxide, 20,000 tonnes per year per five MW generated, rather than 25,000 for gas or 50,000 for current coal. 

Coal prices are very low, partly as a result of the US shale gas revolution, and it generates electricity at around half the price of gas per MW, and if we employed the new technologies the costs would be much lower still.

Coal is cleaner, cheaper and more reliable.

What is there not to like, other than a possible decrease in energy companies’ profits?

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