Ed Miliband – Question 4



Can the Secretary of State reassure CPRE that there will be no new investment in coal generation without tried and tested CCS technologies, particularly in relation to the proposed new coal power station at Kingsnorth in Kent?



There will be no new coal-fired power stations without CCS.

Part of the reason for this is to reduce our own emissions, and partly it is precisely to test the technology at scale. It has already been proved in its different parts, and at small scale, but the test that remains is to fit it all together at industrial scale. Britain can make a major contribution to the fight against climate change if we demonstrate it. India and China, for example, both get two thirds of their power from coal.

If we waited until CCS was proven elsewhere, we would be ducking our obligation to help drive the technology, could delay the availability of CCS here and elsewhere – and would be losing the chance for Britain to be at the front of a new industry with global potential.

Instead, I announced proposals for there to be no new coal-fired power plants in this country without demonstrating carbon capture and storage – working from day one, capturing a substantial portion of emissions. They will also have to retrofit CCS to their full capacity within five years of CCS being proven.


9 responses

  1. Dr Phillip Bratby

    Has Ed Milliband looked into the cost of CCS? What happens when we have closed all the coal-fired power stations and we cannot get hold of the gas to run the gas-fired power stations? The rest of the world is building super-critical coal-fired power stations while the UK government commits to building wind farms which don’t produce any electricity when we most need it – the middle of winter during cold spells. We need a sensible enrgy policy, not one built on wishful thinking and unachievable targets.

    7 July, 2009 at 8:00 pm

  2. In May 2007 RWE npower announced its plans to build a £600m state-of-the-art Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power station at Staythorpe This 1650MW development I have followed closely and may be of interest to Philip
    It claimed to save half as much carbon dioxide emissions per unit of electricity than the previous coal-powered stations there. In 2006 alone it is estimated that RWE npower’s cogeneration saved 1.5 million tonnes of CO2, compared to conventional generation.
    I contacted them to find out how they could guarantee the gas supply

    In response to your questions raised with our Staythorpe Hotline I would comment as follows:
    1. Gas will not be a problem. We will source gas from a wide number of locations. Out trading company RWE Trading is responsible for long term gas supply contracts and will contract to supply gas for the life of the plant. Whilst it is too early to say exactly where gas will be sourced from there are a number of sources from where the supply could come from, including North Sea, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and from the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals currently under construction for the importation of LNG.
    2. AS far as I am aware the ROC scheme is not applicable to Staythorpe as its output is not classed as renewable

    13 July, 2009 at 3:09 pm

  3. Weekly email alerts are available for wind industry jobs worldwide.

    WindIndustryJobs.com, from Windpower Monthly, provides the latest global job vacancies at all levels, experience and disciplines for people directly or indirectly involved with the sale, supply and operation of wind power technology

    At 20 /07/09 there were 47 Jobs in England and 5 Jobs in North East England

    23 July, 2009 at 9:09 pm

  4. Pete Barker

    Ed talks about leading on CCS so that developing countries can follow but my understanding of the technology is that we end up burying the stuff down disused North Sea oil wells.
    Where will India bury it’s carbon?

    28 July, 2009 at 10:29 am

  5. Will

    Where are we going to get all this coal from, Mr Miliband? Dig it out of the Peak District (not likely) or import it from china? What about energy security?

    6 August, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    • Dr Phillip Bratby

      The UK reserves of coal are estimated to be about 7 to 8Gt.

      10 August, 2009 at 2:17 pm

  6. Tony Jarvis

    Even after taking out the CO2, coal is pretty horrible stuff. The local level pollution is terrible, with particulates, heavy metals and even radioactivity in the emissions. I don’t suppose the local communities near new coal power plants will have much of a say.

    8 August, 2009 at 10:13 am

  7. James Connors

    My real worry about CCS is that there won’t be enough space to store all the CO2. Weren’t we told in the 70s that the North Sea had 100 years worth of gas? We’re already running out – will we also run out of CO2 storage just when we most need to reduce our emissions?

    10 August, 2009 at 2:01 pm

  8. Richard Wilson

    The minister is very upbeat about CCS but it is not a proven technology and it is expensive to install and run – is coal generation with CCS economically viable? Even if it’s viable, there’s a dumping problem: I agree with Pete Barker and James Connors: where is all the CCS spoil going to go?

    16 August, 2009 at 1:38 pm

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