Underground Coal Gasification can secure Longannet coal-fired power station’s future and help meet the United Kingdom’s energy needs, according to an industry leader.
Algy Cluff said the Government’s only response to energy supply issues like the oil price plunge and sanctions against Russia over Crimea was “to build more heavily subsidised windfarms”.
In Cluff Natural Resources’ preliminary results for the year, he said the likely closure of Longannet within 12 months would see Scotland lose the supplier of a third of its electricity.
That development, with Scotland being “avowedly non-nuclear, potentially renders the country’s energy situation fraught with danger”.
He continued: “I believe the closure of Longannet poses a threat to the rest of the UK too and should lead to an increasing recognition of the importance of coal gasification in the country’s energy equation.”
Mr Cluff was encouraged that a Scottish Government committee would report by May 7 on how Scotland’s energy mix should be constructed.
“It is our corporate view that the future of Longannet (and Cockenzie and Grangemouth) can be secured by access to UCG,” he said.
Mr Cluff said the UCG coal in Cluff’s Kincardine licence area would fire a 1,000-megawatt power station for 25 years.
“The other two UCG licences in the Firth of Forth, which are larger, could provide energy security that Scotland requires without nuclear power,” he said.
“The lower cost of UCG power generation would render export of electricity from Scotland again competitive.”
Electricity generation from UCG syngas is independent of world natural gas prices which he said were sure to rise in the longer term.
Another advantage was that the output of a UCG production unit, unlike a conventional coal plant, was flexible and “an ideal match for the vagaries of renewable sources”.
During the year CNR built its portfolio of UCG licenses in inshore UK waters to 690 square kilometres, signed a collaboration agreement with Halliburton and saw a new share issue raise £2.2 million.
CNR’s £1.725m loss was 10% better than last year.