Coal Keeps You Safe & Warm

Remember the recent headlines about how wind power has now replaced coal and the king is dead. Not that there is anything wrong with wind, solar, tidal or any other form of power that helps us survive. Whilst coal still has a role it can and should be used cleanly and extracted from under our feet instead of being imported thousands of miles using up resources in a way that is avoidable. When it is cold with no wind and no sun who do we rely on to keep the lights on check here to find out

Energy News Items

As the lobbying gets louder, coal power stations may not go quietly

Energy companies in Italy and Spain have faced unexpected local opposition to their own plans to shut polluting plants

EU regulators to investigate Spanish scheme for coal power plants

First Poland, Then Germany, Now Spain: Europe Rejects Coal Phase Out

UK Coal Industry Gets Hundreds of Millions in Subsidies Each Year, Report Finds

Closure of biggest UK gas storage site draws criticism

Energy trade body calls for inquiry into Centrica’s move to close Rough facility

Rough gas storage facility: review of undertakings

Spain resists coal phase-out

By Aline Robert | | translated by Paola Tamma

The Spanish government is challenging a decision by its main electricity provider to shut down two coal-fired power plants. An attitude that contravenes the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The Spanish government has engaged in a strange stand-off over Iberdrola’s plan to phase out coal, announced at climate talks in Bonn last week. The company’s CEO, Ignacio Sánchez Galán, pledged to close Iberdola’s coal power plants, including the two Spanish power stations, in Lada in Asturias and Velilla, in the autonomous community of Castilla y Leon.

The Spanish company’s plan is to become carbon neutral by 2050, with a 50% reduction of its emissions in 2030 compared to 2007, and investments of €85 billion in renewables in total.

However, rather than encourage the country’s biggest electricity provider, the energy ministry drafted a decree on the procedure of closure of energy facilities, which poses new and very restrictive conditions to close an electricity production site: a site cannot be closed if it is profitable, or if its closure is a threat to the security of supply, or if the prices of electricity may climb.

“There is still an incredible inertia on the subject of climate,” responded Teresa Ribera, director of the think tank of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations.

Spain is a signatory, like the rest of the EU, of the Paris Agreement, which commits the EU to cutting  40% of its emissions by 2030 and, above all, to revising the ambition of each country to be able to limit the rise of the temperatures between 1.5° and 2°.

The European Commission, whose climate commissioner is Spanish, does not seem overly concerned about this situation. “The Commission is analysing the draft decree and will react in due course,” a spokesperson told EURACTIV.

Spain’s Energy Minister Álvaro Nadal fears that closing power plants will create power cuts. But the reasons seem more complex.

Asked by EURACTIV, Iberdrola said the pledge to ditch coal remains intact after a meeting with the country’s energy minister on Thursday (23 November).

According to the unions, 200 jobs would be destroyed, but Iberdrola ensured that the jobs lost would be fully offset by reclassifications. This makes the government’s reaction all the less understandable.

And the argument of the risk of power cuts is unconvincing; Spain is today in a situation of electrical overcapacity after high investments in renewables.

As the temperature continues to rise, one of COP23’s most notable initiatives has been that of the Coalition Alliance, proposed by the United Kingdom and Canada and joined by twenty other countries. But not by Spain.

UK Energy Watch

Electricity Fuel Type – Instantaneous real-time data
Fuel type Current Power
Combined Cycle Gas Turbine 21,134 MW 53.5 %
Open Cycle Gas Turbine 0 MW 0.0 %
Oil 0 MW 0.0 %
Coal 7,434 MW 18.8 %
Nuclear 6,650 MW 16.8 %
Wind 3,376 MW 8.5 %
Pumped Storage Hydro 398 MW 1.0 %
Non Pumped Storage Hydro 433 MW 1.1 %
Other 89 MW 0.2 %
Interconnect – France 0 MW 0.0 %
Interconnect – Ireland (Moyle) 0 MW 0.0 %
Interconnect – Netherlands 0 MW 0.0 %
Interconnect – Ireland (East-West) 0 MW 0.0 %
Total 39,514 MW 100.0 %

Updated: 24 November 2017 14:20:00 (UK local time)


USA: DOE-Supported Petra Nova Captures More Than 1 Million Tons of CO2
The world’s largest post-combustion carbon capture system has reached a major milestone, capturing more than 1 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) for use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR).
The Petra Nova project, located at NRG’s W.A. Parish power generating station near Houston, has been successfully demonstrating an advanced amine-based CO2-capture technology that removes 90 percent of the CO2 emitted from a flue gas stream. The project began commercial operations on January 10, 2017.  On April 13, 2017 Secretary of Energy Rick Perry attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for the project, where he noted that Petra Nova “demonstrates that clean coal technologies can have a meaningful and positive impact on the Nation’s energy security and economic growth.”
At 240 megawatts, the project is a joint venture between NRG Energy and JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration Corporation, and received support from the Department of Energy.  It uses a process jointly developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the Kansai Electric Power Co. which utilizes a high-performance solvent to separate the CO2 from the flue gas produced by conventional coal combustion.
The CO2 captured from Petra Nova is used for EOR at the West Ranch Oil Field, which has increased oil production from 300 barrels per day when it began operations to about 4,000 barrels per day today.
Petra Nova was selected as POWER magazine’s plant of the year for 2017.


Coal not so dirty as you may think

Which fossil fuel could you place in your mouth without causing damage? That would be wood would it not? A lot of ‘wood’ there, what fossil fuel is warmer more efficient and you can still place in your mouth without ill effect? Coal of course, you knew that anyway, but value of coal to people is not just by burning it there are many uses that help sustain our existence on the planet you may have seen the ‘coal tree’ showing the many useful uses derived from coal. What you may not be aware of is that coal contains Rare Earth metals. Researchers have found a way to extract rare materials and metals from coal in an efficient, cheap and environmentally friendly way. Scientists from the University of Kentucky say the new method of producing high-grade rare earth elements will make manufacturing the essential components found in mobile phones, computers, and other technological applications much cleaner. Materials such as neodymium and yttrium, which are used to make chemicals and equipment in the renewable energy sector, represented more than 45% of the total concentrate recovered. With demand for these technologies at all time high, the researchers think the discovery could make a significant difference to the environmental aspects of the process and the related industries. You would think that anyone with an abundance of coal, or an island built on coal for example would take advantage?

Clement Attlee 3 Jan 1883 to 8 October 1967

8 October 2017  50 years since the passing of Clement Attlee.

Lead the Labour Party to the landslide election victory of 1945. As Prime Minister he oversaw the introduction of the NHS and the Welfare State. Impressive achievements by any rule of thumb. Attlee was born in 1883 into an affluent family, studied law at Oxford and became a barrister in 1906. Hardly the start that would lead Thatcher to say some years later that “The 1945 Labour manifesto was in fact a very left-wing document. That is clearer now than it was then.”

It is said that by doing voluntary work in London he saw the levels of social deprivation that lead him to read the works of John Ruskin and William Morris. He joined the Independent Labour Party in 1908.

There is much written about Clement Attlee but his response here to Churchill in 1945 makes it quite plain to see which side he was on.

Winston Churchill, election broadcast (4th June, 1945)

I must tell you that a socialist policy is abhorrent to British ideas on freedom. There is to be one State, to which all are to be obedient in every act of their lives. This State, once in power, will prescribe for everyone: where they are to work, what they are to work at, where they may go and what they may say, what views they are to hold, where their wives are to queue up for the State ration, and what education their children are to receive. A socialist state could not afford to suffer opposition no socialist system can be established without a political police. They would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo.

Clement Attlee, election broadcast (5th June, 1945)

The Prime Minister made much play last night with the rights of the individual and the dangers of people being ordered about by officials. I entirely agree that people should have the greatest freedom compatible with the freedom of others. There was a time when employers were free to work little children for sixteen hours a day. I remember when employers were free to employ sweated women workers on finishing trousers at a penny halfpenny a pair. There was a time when people were free to neglect sanitation so that thousands died of preventable diseases. For years every attempt to remedy these crying evils was blocked by the same plea of freedom for the individual. It was in fact freedom for the rich and slavery for the poor.

Scargill v National Union of Mineworkers

Arthur Scargill, the former President of the NUM has lost the latest round in his ongoing litigation against the union.

On 22 August 2017 Leeds County Court heard Mr Scargill’s claim for recovery of £5769.00 plus interest and costs which he had paid for a replacement security system at his home in Barnsley. The Judge agreed that the union has a duty to act in the members’ interests and decided that the NUM had acted reasonably when it requested a second quote from an independent contractor to ensure that this represented best value. Mr Scargill had refused to allow the union the opportunity of obtaining alternative quotations for the work and consequently he was not entitled to recover the money he had paid for the security system. During the proceedings Mr Scargill, who represented himself, failed to prove his case despite prolonged questioning of NUM Secretary, Chris Kitchen. After the hearing Mr Kitchen said “I am obviously pleased at the outcome of this case but at a time when the union is doing its best to represent current and former members it’s a pity that yet again we are having to devote time and resources dealing with Mr Scargill’s complaints which are of no benefit to anyone except himself”.

Mathewson v National Union of Mineworkers

Mr Mathewson having had all of 8 of his complaints against the NUM struck out by the Certification Officer was seeking to appeal the decisions to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT). The case was heard 11 August 2017. The EAT at the hearing refused to admit Mr Mathewson’s appeal. Mr Mathewson was in court with his wife but did not speak. He was represented in court by Arthur Scargill assisted by Nell Myers.