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http://www.ref.org.uk/press-releases/281-wearnandntearnhitsnwindnfarmnoutputnandneconomicnlifetime

 

In the meantime while the government has hummed and hawed over shale gas, in the same period of time and from a standing start the same company that wants to drill in Lancashire has successfully started gas production from 22 wells in Argentina. What has happened to the world leader, Great Britain??

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I was reading an article over Christmas about something called "coal" which apparently used to be mined in great quantities in Britain. The article mentioned that with some process they have now, which i think they called  "carbon capture", that coal is now becoming a very good option as a green fuel being cheaper than gas to produce electricity. . I think maybe the one drawback from the governments point of view is that it could create  proper jobs.

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"Carbon capture" has been around for sometime, but I'm not sure if it's yet a viable option?  However we should be investing in R&D in areas like this, so we can sell the new technologies to the Chinese and Indians who tend to be coal dependent. Unfortunately, we seem to have politicians who cannot see or even think beyond the next election.

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Geoff, I'm waiting for the first Flag of Convenience cowboy to take a shortcut through one of these arrays. Should be an eye opener!!

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The cost of reopening British coal mines .................

 

We hear that a lot whenever anyone suggests it but WHAT COST? It's only digging a hole in the ground for God's sake! The Victorians managed it perfectly well shoring up with wooden pit props, lining shafts with individually laid bricks and pumping out water with steam engines,

 

I'm sure that with hydraulic rams, pre-stressed concrete, tunnel boring machines and high-efficiency electric pumps it's got to have got easier and more economic over the years!

 

Certainly easier and cheaper than building nuclear power stations!

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Our coal mines were for the most part shut and are flooded. The cost of pumping the water and making safe the shafts that were not filled means any coal you get is very expensive, it's cheaper to import. People forget that the mines shut because they were not competitive in the first place

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In case you hadn't noticed, fuel prices have risen quite a bit since then!

 

The decision to close most of the pits was as much a political one as anything, in order to rid us of a nationalised, inefficient, union dominated financial millstone.

 

It can't be any more expensive to re-open the mines than it was to dig them in the first place.

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Apparently,though the oil & gas production from the North Sea has reached the stage where supplies are harder to extract & specialist firms are needed to get to the reserves ,whereas we are still sat on millions of tons of coal.Whatever happens though.whatever colour of government is in power, needs to start looking  further ahead & building power stations for the future whether coal,gas or nuclear.

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It would be alot more expensive than imprting it as we do now inky

 

Don't know about alot more expensive than imprting, we're shipping 3 million tons a year from Australia for gods sake! But the majority of imported coal is open cast mined - something which has been made virtually impossible to do in the UK due to the red tape involved in our planning system, public enquiries, environmental impact assessments, eco-nutter appeasement payments, and all the rest of it. Again, the product of political decisions.

 

We should be striving towards energy self sufficiency, and utilising the resources we have. There are plenty of easily accessible reserves - latest estimates are for 850 million tons accessible via surface mining plus 2,300 million tons accessible via underground mining. We are currently using around 40 million tons per year, but importing well over half of it. Whereas we could and should be using our own reserves of 20+ years easily accessible surface coal first, and 500+ years of underground coal as and when prices rise to make it economic to extract.

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We hear that a lot whenever anyone suggests it but WHAT COST? It's only digging a hole in the ground for God's sake! The Victorians managed it perfectly well shoring up with wooden pit props, lining shafts with individually laid bricks and pumping out water with steam engines,

 

I'm sure that with hydraulic rams, pre-stressed concrete, tunnel boring machines and high-efficiency electric pumps it's got to have got easier and more economic over the years!

 

Certainly easier and cheaper than building nuclear power stations!

Don't ever mention that to any old miners or find you will be awfull constipated by a No.14 brass riveted shovel stuck in your rectum inky.

The actual number of miners killed underground in Britain since 1900 will never be known!.

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We’re always going to go for the cheapest and easiest option so when in the past an oil rig dropped below a certain capacity it we just corked it up and started another. But now things are drying up and fuel prices have soared, the economics of reopening some of these older wells makes sense and I suppose thats true for the mines as well.

 

I was reading some quite interesting stuff recently on plans to spend money converting disused North Sea rigs into hydo-thermal generators. The rational was that the sea floor out there is relatively thin with a high thermal gradient and the existing bore holes could be adapted cheaper than simply decommissioning the oil rig. Calculations showed that while it wouldn’t solve the countries needs, it could provide a safe and reliable source of energy without any pollution.

 

Bill :)

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Because of the shale gas revolution in the USA they are using gas instead of coal for electricity production, but they are still mining the same amount of coal. The result of this is a dramatic fall in the price of their coal which makes it attractive to import into the UK for our electricity producers to use in preference to the relatively expensive gas. Coal fired power stations still produce the most electricity in this country.

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Asp, is right most of the power we use comes from coal, The trouble with coal in this Country is the same as nuclear, most of the coal fired power stations are now working past what the were ever designed to do. And the maintenance costs of keeping them going increases every year. Gas powered stations are smaller than coal fired power stations they are cheaper to make, but you need more power stations as they produce less energy per power station.

 

Re opening coal fields over here, will be a lot more expensive than importing coal. The costs of re opening will be truly massive.

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Coal is used for 28% of the electricity generation in the UK, Gas accounts for 47%, Nuclear provides 15%. We've scattered windmills over half the country and huge sections of our seas, stuck ugly and expensive solar panels on every south facing roof in sight and turned vast areas of food producing farmland over to rape seed and bio-mass production - but renewables still only contribute 7% overall.

 

The gas power stations ARE more efficient and cheaper to run - but that's mainly because they are all far newer. They'll see their maintenance and running costs rise as they approach the age of our current coal fired stations. So part of what we need is NEW coal fired power stations with the newer, cleaner burning boilers and - possibly - some degree of carbon capture to keep the nutters happy.

 

We import about 4.5 million tons of coal from the US each year - compared with 18.5 million tons mined here. So the coal mined here can't be all that uncompetitive on price. Our biggest imports come from Russia (10 million tons) and Columbia (6.5 million tons), neither of which are countries we want to be giving control of our energy security to! Besides, both of these suppliers are already starting to see increasing demand from markets closer to home - China in the case of Russia, and Brazil in the case of Columbia. All of our major suppliers are raising their prices, and this resulted in the power companies and coke producers drawing down their coal stocks by 6.5 million tons in 2010 rather than buy it in.

 

All forms of energy WILL get more expensive as global demand rises and increasing evidence proves that wind and solar generation is nowhere near as cheap, efficient or reliable as we have all been promised. Coal and shale gas WILL both become more competitive - as well as providing us with the energy security we'll need.

 

So we need to stop allowing the nutters to tie new projects up in public enquiries and red tape, stop pratting about with wind farms and other eco white elephants, and start getting on with building power stations which burn the fuels we already have.

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I agree inky, but as someone who works in the industry, it will be along time before we are opening new mines in the UK, the government aren't even looking at it as part of a solution as they know the costs involved. Most of our mines were capped and left to flood. It is not just pumping them out, the shafts become unstable when they are flooded and the rock around the shafts also. Yes it is do able, but the cost is such that it will along time before it is cost effective to do so.

 

At the moment I think the UK has actually approved 7 new nuclear power stations, with more to follow. Two have actually started to be built. Hinkley C, and Sizewell. For me Nuclear is the way ahead. Unless the UK starts to suffer from tsunami's. And if that happens I might change my mind.

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I agree that long term the future's nuclear - but fusion not fission. We need the new nuclear stations primarily as a means of retaining our expertise in nuclear power generation and to funnel some of those brains into nuclear fusion research.

 

But it currently takes decades to get a new nuke station built and operational. We need to be building more capacity using tried and tested technologies right now.

 

For the next 20 years or so we need to be open cast mining our easily accessible coal reserves and refitting our coal power stations with new boilers and generator sets to make them more efficient and boost their output, whilst at the same time bringing shale gas on stream in commercial quantities to burn in our gas stations and making sure that the brains behind our 7 new nuke plants are British brains who'll be able to design and run fusion power plants once that technology becomes available.

 

The private power companies are more than happy to put up the cash for all of this, and take the profits which will result. Our politicians just need to untie their hands from all the red tape and provide the industry with a sensible and stable regulatory environment so they can make such long term plans and investments.

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Open cast mining, with our planning laws could take even longer to build, with all the nimbies taking all proposals to the legal limited. More chance of getting the nuclear plants open first as they are building most of them where their are already nuclear power stations and the local populations want the jobs they create.

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The Chinese are reportedly investing a lot of time and money into the development of thorium reactors which are a lot less hazardous than conventional reactors, with the added advantage of thorium being plentiful worldwide.

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