Wales coal industry could rise again

Wales coal industry could rise again

A revival of the coal industry in Wales was put forward as a possibility by Peter Hain today.

The Secretary of State for Wales said: “Fossil fuels are going to provide us with the bulk of our energy for the foreseeable future, coal included, so if we are going to tackle the urgent problem of climate change, it is essential that we make fossil fuel generation cleaner and greener.

“Although coal has historically been the dirtiest of fuels, new technologies now hold out the prospect of reducing coal emissions to a level comparable to gas. And with carbon capture and storage, we may even eliminate emissions altogether.

“The technology is still at an early stage of development, but the prospect of a renaissance for the Welsh coal industry is very exciting indeed.”

Wales could also become a world leader in harnessing tidal energy to help achieve a clean, green future for the UK, Peter Hain said.

Speaking following publication of the Government’s Energy White Paper, Mr Hain said innovative projects such as the proposed Severn Barrage scheme could generate huge
untapped energy resources without producing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

He said: ” With the huge threat of climate change, it is only through clean, green alternatives, from household solar panels to large-scale schemes such as the Severn Barrage, that we can make the necessary reductions in our carbon emissions.

“Energy policy is a major challenge facing this country. Today’s Energy White Paper demonstrates this Government’s commitment to prioritising the twin challenges of climate change and energy security.

“The Planning White Paper published earlier this week will also help unlock the log jam of proposed energy projects, including wind farms, by streamlining planning procedures on major energy infrastructure projects. This will reduce delays and
uncertainties and help industry make the investments that the UK needs.

“By 2020, a third of the UK electricity generation capacity will need replacing. The proposed Barrage across the Severn estuary could generate massive amounts of clean, green and predictable energy – up to five per cent of the UK’s energy needs. No other renewables project comes close to that.”

The Sustainable Development Commission is carrying out a study on Severn tidal power. The Severn Tidal Power Group – a joint venture between six power engineering and construction firms – propose a 10-mile barrage to run from Lavernock Point, near Cardiff, to Brean Down, near Weston-super-Mare.

Mr Hain said: “The Welsh Assembly Government has already helped shape the Government’s thinking for the Energy White Paper. I will be continuing to work to ensure that full consideration is given to Welsh interests and concerns before any proposals are taken forward, so that Wales can help the UK to meet these challenges.”

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