Coal-gas chief warns that Longannet closure poses risk to UK energy supply

The underground coal gasification process
The underground coal gasification process

The chief of Cluff Natural Resources – which aims to tap into substantial coal-ges reserves in the Forth estuary – has warned that the closure of the coal-fired Longannet power station poses a threat to to the energy supply in both Scotland and rUK. And he claims that his company’s coal-gas plans could save the Fife power plant.

Algy Cluff, chairman and chief executive, said: “Longannet power station in Scotland is likely to close within 12 months. Scotland has therefore recently lost approximately one third of its electricity supply which, being also avowedly non-nuclear, potentially renders the country’s energy situation fraught with danger.

 “I believe that the closure of Longannet poses a threat to the rest of the UK too and should lead to increasing recognition of the importance of coal gasification in the country’s energy equation.”

A Scottish Government committee set up to consider how Scotland’s energy-mix should be constructed is due to report on May 7. Cluff added;

“It is our corporate view that the future of Longannet (and Cockenzie and Grangemouth) can be secured by access to UCG (underground coal gasification) We have already demonstrated that the UCG suitable coal in place in our Kincardine licence alone is equivalent to 1.4 TCF of natural gas – sufficient to fire a 1,000MW power station for 25 years.

“The other two UCG licences in the Firth of Forth, which are larger, could provide the energy security that Scotland requires without nuclear power. The lower cost of UCG power generation would render export of electricity from Scotland again competitive.

“Furthermore, the cost of electricity generation from UCG syngas is independent of world natural gas prices, which are sure to rise in the longer term. The output of a UCG production plant, unlike conventional coal plant, is flexible and an ideal match for the vagaries of renewable sources; and CCGT plant can be designed to operate on both syngas and natural gas as is proven in Europe.”

Cluff noted that Matthew Hancock, presently UK governent Minister of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, month endorsed the concept of UCG and he added: “We can only hope that this welcome attitude will be sustained by the next Government.”

Latest independent assessments indicate that there are even more coal-gas reserves in Cluff’s Kincardine licence-area. The company is progressing with site selection studies, environmental surveys and modelling and engineering design work required to support its forthcoming formal planning application.

The company reported a loss for the year to 31 December 2014 of £1.7 million – compared to £1.9 million last year.

It recently raised a further £2.2 million by way of a placing and subscription of new shares at 4.25 pence per share which will provide sufficient working capital at least until the end of first quarter of 2016.


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