The headlines almost 12 months ago were “Britain goes without coal for the first time ‘since Industrial Revolution'”.
12 months on and when the cold started to bite, can anyone tell us the last day that if coal was not burned to generate electricity the lights would not have gone out?
Total coal imports in the third quarter of 2017 were 1.9 million tonnes, 9.9 per cent higher than in the same period in 2016.
Imports of steam coal fell 5.4 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 compared to a year earlier. Russia was the highest supplier of steam coal imports with 50 per cent. The second highest supplier was the USA with 27 per cent, followed by Colombia with 8 per cent.
Coking coal imports rose by 42 per cent to 0.8 million tonnes in the third quarter of 2017 compared to the third quarter of 2016. The USA (33 per cent), Australia (32 per cent) and Russia (30 per cent) represented 95 per cent of coking coal imports.
And All That Gas
The government says less than 1 percent of UK supplies come from Russia, but critics point out this still exposes consumers when supplies are tight, and Britain must bid with the rest of Europe (who rely on a third of its gas from Russia) for piped gas and with the rest of the world for LNG. It is probably fair to say that without gas from Russia the UK would have experienced power cuts this month and certainly without Russian coal the lights would have gone out.
The case for an indigenous coal industry with Carbon Capture Usage and Storage as a strategic requirement for the UK is plain to see.
How many more risks do the UK take before ‘Boom Out Go The Lights’.