Wales: Digging out a New Age for Coal
The recent high energy prices and the discovery of new clean-coal technologies are leading to an unexpected revival of the coal industry in Wales.
The Vale of Neath, South Wales, has maintained its predominant position in the history and production of coal since the Industrial Revolution in mid-nineteenth century.
In 1984 and 1985, with Margaret Thatcher as the British Prime Minister, the loss-making, government-owned coal industry soon clashed with her liberal economic policies.
Today, the only deep coal mine left in the valleys is Tower Colliery, bought by its miners in an unconventional move to save it from bankruptcy. Twenty years passed by, and in 2006, the time was ripe again for an unexpected revival of the industry in the Vale of Neath. Due to the increasing prize and diminishing reserves of oil and gas, the uncertainties of renewable energy sources to provide for an ever larger request, and the technological advancement in producing energy from coal while limiting the emissions of pollutants, has created the basis for valuable investment opportunities and a possible alternative to the more energy crisis.
After a year-long refurbishment, and 8 years of inactivity, Unity has started working on its coal-face in July and has entrusted a group of die-hard miners with the duty of setting it up anew. Coal could be then answer to both, access to cheaper and paradoxically greener energy and a better and safer choice than nuclear energy as a major supply for the decades to come.
It is estimated that coal reserves in Wales amount to over 250 million tonnes, or the equivalent of at least 50 years of energy supply, while the worldwide total coal could last for over 200 years as a viable resource compared to only a few decades of oil and natural gas.
However, developing CO2-free power plant is a tedious, lenghty and expensive job. ‘Business is business’ some people say, but how about ‘Our’ plans towards a sustainable, alternative source of energy?
Could clean-coal be the middle way forward?
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