Carbon capture plans threaten shutdown of all UK coal-fired power stations

Well, well! As we suspected, it seems that carbon capture might prove too costly for coal. Ed Miliband, the energy secretary, is proposing to extend his plans to force companies to fit carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) onto new coal plants – as revealed by the Guardian – to cover a dozen existing coal plants. The consultation published by his Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) conceded that if this happened “we could expect them to close”.

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SANC slams CCS ‘smokescreen’

On 29 May, we awoke to the news that Longannet was to become the first coal-fired power plant in the UK to capture CO2 emissions – a demonstration of their CCS system was carried out later that day. Our press release is below.

Scotland Against New Coal (SANC) is deeply concerned about Scottish Power’s much-trumpeted small scale trial of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology at Longannet power station in Fife. The campaign group, which consists of volunteers from across the country, was established to meet the growing threat of new coal-fired power stations in Scotland. Continue reading

It’s official: the world’s gone coal crazy!

We are facing the mother of all energy crises yet our response is to invest in a technology which uses more energy to burn coal! Yes, it’s been a frustrating month for those concerned about CCS. We had a big dose of carbon capture and storage (CCS) at the All-Energy conference in Aberdeen last week, the launch of the LibDems European election campaign with much trumpeting about Scotland becoming a world leader in CCS technology and even environmental group WWF have decided that choosing Longannet as the site for the Government’s carbon-capture demonstration project is a “no brainer”. Here at SANC, we are at a loss as to what to do! Continue reading

Miliband’s coal decision is cynical and meaningless

Some will have heard today’s announcement by Ed Miliband that no new unabated coal-fired power will be generated. Sound like a breakthrough? Sadly not, as George Monbiot explains in his usual no-nonsense manner. As with all information in the media, it is dangerous to skim the headlines. Miliband’s statement says that energy companies must “demonstrate CCS on a substantial proportion of any new coal-fired power station.” The figures he has just proposed (400MW of gross capacity) suggest that only around one-quarter to one-fifth of total emissions from a new plant will be captured. Continue reading

Something’s burning

Yesterday, a fire broke out at a new £170 million facility being built at Longannet Power Station in Fife. The blaze happened in an area next to the main power facility where a Flue Gas Desulphurisation Unit – a facility that will help capture sulphur gases, allowing more of Scotland’s sulphurous opencast coal to be burned – is currently being constructed. Fife Fire and Rescue was called out at 3.05pm and were still there on Monday night although the blaze had been brought under control and no injuries or power losses were reported. 

Longannet is probably still smouldering as I write. There were few reports on this incident, which was probably nothing to worry about – these things happen. But what is worrying is that Scotland really is poised to become a world leader in “carbon capture” technology, which makes it hard to believe that Scotland will also be at the forefront of actually tackling climate change.

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No such thing as ‘clean coal’

Clean coal technology like this is at work right now in a coal-fired power station near you

Energy companies putting in bids to run new coal-fired power stations have been quick to seize upon carbon capture and storage (CCS) as the ideal solution to their biggest problem – explaining why they’re so keen to return to using the dirtiest fossil-fuel possible at a time when we need to cut CO2 emissions dramatically to reign-in climate change.

For those of us still unsure just how CCS works at a modern coal plant, the kind folk at have put together this helpful video to explain the processes already in place to prevent harmfull greenhouse gases escaping during power generation.

So take a look if you have a spare couple of minutes
– it’s a fascinating insight into the realities behind the operation of a modern fossil-fuelled power station, and tells us a lot about how seriously utility companies take their responsibilities when it comes to tackling climate change.

More direct action against opencast coal

At 9am today (23 Feb 09) a group of eco-activists disrupted the operations of Scottish Coal at the Rosewell opencast coal mine in Midlothian. Some of the 10 activists stopping work today are local residents. They climbed onto digging machinery to prevent works and climbed onto trucks to prevent coal from leaving the Rosewell site for 2 hours this morning. Then police arrived but no-one was arrested.

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