Mining firms in electricity call

Doncaster news: 7/1/2003.''Hatfield Colliery.
Doncaster news: 7/1/2003.''Hatfield Colliery.
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A GROUP which includes South Yorkshire’s last colliery operators is calling on the Government to change its plans for generating electricity.

The Confederation of British Coal Producers, which includes among its members Hargreaves Services, which runs both Hatfield Colliery in Doncaster and Maltby Colliery in Rotherham, says it has tabled a five-point plan for cheaper, reliable and sustainable electricity supplies.

It also claims the plan would safeguard jobs, boost investment and reduce energy imports.

Coal provides 30 per cent of UK electricity, rising to 50 per cent or more at peak periods in winter.

Coalpro says it is an industry worth £1 billion to the economy.

David Brewer, Coalpro director-general, said: “Coal has for many years been a cornerstone of Britain’s electricity supply and can remain so, more cleanly and reliably, if changes are made to evolving energy policy. Britain can reduce its dependence on both imported coal and gas by putting in place policy measures which will encourage long-term investment in new capacity which will provide the nation with reliable, sustainable and cheaper supplies than relying on expensive imported gas.”

Measures being proposed by the coal industry include:

n Assurances over payments to ensure sufficient generating capacity is available to meet demand during the transition to low-carbon electricity generation.

n Rapid implementation of the carbon-capture demonstration programme;

n A review of a tax on the carbon content of fuels used for electricity generation;

n Carbon tax relief on sites investing in carbon capture;

n A requirement for the carbon-capture systems at gas-fired power stations;

A Department for Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: “We’re in the process of developing far-reaching reforms of the electricity market and want to work with as many different parts of the industry as possible.

“Coal plays a crucial role in keeping the lights on today and we’re moving as quickly as we can to progress our carbon capture and storage demonstration programme so that fossil fuels, including indigenously-produced coal, have the potential to make a big contribution in the longer term too.”