Letters to the Editor - 09/10 - UK energy crisis, Best of Twitter

UK energy crisis

[Re: Our energy crisis, like America’s debt idiocy, is self-inflicted, yesterday]

I agree that it is crazy for Britain to be closing its coal burners under the Large Combustion Plant Directive. But it is also important to mention the effects of the Emissions Trading Directive and the Energy Efficiency Directive, which have also pushed UK prices up further. The solution is simply to retire inefficient coal burners – like the Didcot plants, which ran on efficiencies of 35 to 36 per cent. By contrast, the new fleet of ultra-critical coal burners opening in China have efficiencies of 45 to 46 per cent, and the super ultra-critical burners are predicted to have rates above 50 per cent. So the solution is to refit the old UK stations with new and more efficient burners. It will also allow the UK to take advantage of the effects of fracking, which has seen coal prices crash down to around $90 per tonne from roughly $140 two years ago. This is largely thanks to the Americans – who are now using gas and thus no longer needing the Appalachian coal. The additional benefit of the retrofitted burners is that they emit less CO2 than they did before, so regardless of whether you believe the anthropogenic global warming rhetoric, we still have emissions savings.

Iain Mckie

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