Forget fossil fuels – the future is renewable. That is what the directors of Five Quarter must remember as they reveal plans for the gasification of coal underneath the North Sea (News Guardian, April 3).
The company’s chairman, Dr Harry Bradbury, says blithely that there is “no risk of environmental impact” from his plans, and ‘’We’re removing carbon altogether so we’re not producing any greenhouse gases,’’ he says without explaining anything of the process.
The problem is that, so far, no economically viable plan for carbon capture and storage has been found anywhere in the world.
There are some promising developments, but give them a few years before coming to a final verdict.
Dr Bradbury is vague on the details of his plans - for example, will the gas be used to power up the formerly coal-fired power station at Lynemouth, or will it be sent as chemical feedstock to the chemical industry on Teesside? Will it be burnt or will it be turned into a fuel for transport?
We will continue to question Dr Bradbury and will challenge him at each stage of the planning process, which he says will take three to five years.
What we believe is that the answer to our future energy needs lies in renewable energy through the sun, the wind and the sea.
And that is where the government should concentrate its investment, not in an industry which belongs in the past. Fossil fuel should remain undisturbed in the ground.
North Tyneside Friends of the Earth