Energy resource is a complex issue

I saw with great interest two letters (News Guardian, April 10) concerning the problems of fuel and energy.

Then a reply from a Mr Armstrong (News Guardian, April 17) said one correspondent, Mr Scott, was ‘slightly unaware’ of the realities involved in keeping going.

But I have to say Mr Scott does appear to be aware of the ‘greater’ reality.

In my view, mining and drilling are all part of the same engineering, and some drills are measured in feet diameter rather than the few inches stated, to start with.

I have to declare my connections as I do not know Mr Armstrong but I do know Mr Scott and his associates.

I state some points for a more general consideration.

The river Tyne alone imports 4.5 million tonnes of coal each year, and the Port of Tyne Authority aims to import millions of tonnes of wood as pellets and chips, or any such.

These imports are to supply Drax, being the UK’s largest power station at 3.9 gigawatt (GW) on the original coal design. When, as intended, all six units at Drax are converted to wood, this would mean only three to 3.5 GW could be generated.

The use of gas for power generation has a lesser carbon dioxide (CO2) impact than coal and wood, but if found in huge amounts, everything possible would go over to gas.

The station at Peterhead is largely gas-fired, at 2GW a substantial size by most standards.

However, the present government wants 90GW by 2020.

Such gas,say methane, largely, will produce millions of tonnes of CO2 as it is a carbon fuel.

Peterhead is now engaged in a major project to adopt full ‘carbon capture’, easier than for coal and wood, but all at significant costs. The government is involved at Drax.

The so-called sustainable sources of energy, wind turbines, solar, etc, all have their places, but not at the levels we had up to now.

Various organisations are withdrawing from the from the wind and solar industries, in spite of the recent ‘Siemens’ engagements in the UK.

There was no direct reference in the correspondence to nuclear energy, and the great resource of the sea – the UK being an island nation, with or without Scotland.

Only a few days ago, there was a Berlin conference of the IPCC (Intergovernmental panel for climate change).

Its findings from many high powered scientists was that the CO2 was urgent and overwhelming.

Any use of lower carbon fuels is ‘interim’ only to get through the next ten years or so.

All carbon-based fuels must be withdrawn – in time.

The sea, is for practical purposes, an infinite resource and can be used at local, small sites, producing power from waves, heat-pumps and such.

However, to achieve the gigawatts, tidal bays such as Swansea are the future.

AM Johnson