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Electricity Supply Industry

Volume 114: debated on Monday 6 April 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list in the Official Report the criteria for evaluating forecasts of the price of coal and the price of lignite for the next 30 years, in considering the construction of a new power station in Northern Ireland.

In evaluating forecasts of the price of coal and lignite my officials will be seeking the least cost source of secure supply taking due account of the forecast of variations in that cost. The forecast of the price of coal will be related to the price of internationally traded coal. The forecast of prices of lignite will be based on terms of supply offered by prospective miners.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish in the Official Report the current price of lignite and the terms of supply which are currently being offered in his discussions with British Petroleum Coal.

No. While the Department of Economic Development has been kept informed of negotiations on price and terms of supply between BP Coal Limited and NIE and the groups putting forward proposals to building a lignite-fired power station, these negotiations are commercially confidential.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will state in the Official Report the cost to public funds to date of examining (a) coal or dual oil/coal-fired plant at Kilroot, (b) interconnection with Scotland, and (c) lignite-fired power station options for new generating capacity in Northern Ireland.

The various future generation proposals were submitted to the Department of Economic Development on 19 November 1987. Since that time the cost to public funds of evaluating these options has amounted to approximately £305,000.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he or any of his Ministers have to visit power stations in Northern Ireland.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he, or any of his Ministers, visited the lignite excavation site at Crumlin, Northern Ireland.

Visits were made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bosworth (Sir A. Butler). Minister of State, on 22 August 1984, and my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, North (Dr. Boyson), Minister of State, on 6 November 1984.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many meetings, and on what dates, have been held during the last 12 months with British Petroleum Coal to discuss the price and terms of supply of lignite to power stations in Northern Ireland.

Officials have held 12 meetings with BP Coal Ltd. on the following dates when the price and terms of supply of lignite to a power station were among the matters discussed.

  • 30 May 1986
  • 3 July 1986
  • 22 August 1986
  • 23 September 1986
  • 21 October 1986
  • 30 October 1986
  • 12 December 1986
  • 6 February 1987
  • 23 February 1987
  • 16 March 1987
  • 26 March 1987
  • 30 March 1987

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many meetings, and on what dates, have been held during the last 12 months with Northern Ireland Electricity to discuss future generating capacity in Northern Ireland.

Nine, on the following dates:

  • 8 April 1986
  • 14 May 1986
  • 17 June 1986
  • 6 August 1986
  • 20 August 1986
  • 29 October 1986
  • 5 November 1986
  • 4 February 1987
  • 26 March 1987

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many meetings, and on what dates, have been held during the last 12 months with the Antrim Power Company to discuss future generating capacity in Northern Ireland.

There have been 17, on the following dates:

  • 19 May 1986
  • 12 June 1986
  • 26 June 1986
  • 28 August 1986
  • 12 September 1986
  • 3 October 1986
  • 14 October 1986
  • 28 October 1986
  • 26 November 1986
  • 13 January 1987
  • 14 January 1987
  • 15 January 1987
  • 16 January 1987
  • 6 February 1987
  • 16 March 1987
  • 19 March 1987
  • 20 March 1987

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many meetings, and on what dates, have been held during the last 12 months with British Coal to discuss the price and terms of supply of coal to power stations in Northern Ireland.

The price and terms of supply of coal to power stations are matters for which Northern Ireland Electricity has responsibility and upon which they directly negotiate with British Coal. However, officials of the Department of Economic Development have had one meeting, on 24 February 1987, with British Coal to seek their views on the long-term forecast price of coal and to discuss their future contractual arrangements with Northern Ireland Electricity.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the estimated cost to public funds of the construction of a lignite-fuelled power station, the completion of a dual-fired Kilroot phase II, the construction of a new coal fired power station, the construction of an interconnector with Scotland and the reintroduction of the interconnector with the Irish Republic, respectively.

Northern Ireland Electricity has submitted estimated costs for; the construction of a lignite-fuelled power station, the completion of a dual-fired Kilroot phase II and the construction of an interconnector with Scotland. Two private sector consortia have also submitted proposals for the construction of a lignite-fuelled power station. Officials are now assessing the estimates received for these options and it would be improper to disclose the cost involved while this assessment is continuing. A proposal for a new coal-fired power station has not been received and therefore no cost estimate is available. The Department of Economic Development does not have a current estimate of the cost of re-establishing the interconnector with the Republic of Ireland.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions he has had with the trades unions on the construction of a lignite-fuelled power station in Northern Ireland.

I have not as yet had any specific discussions with trade union representatives on this subject but plan to meet representatives from the Federation of Union Supplying Electricity and the Electrical Power Engineers Association in the near future.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list in the Official Report which power stations, and on what dates, he has visited in Northern Ireland.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the likely environmental impact of the construction of a lignite-fuelled power station in Northern Ireland.

Officials in the Department of Economic Development and the Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland) have discussed the environmental implications of a lignite-fired station. However, a full assessment of the likely environmental impact of such a station would depend upon is location and detailed plans.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to ensure the development and maintenance of electricity generation in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland Electricity has advised the Department of Economic Development that additional generating capacity will be required by the mid-1990s. The Department is currently evaluating a number of future generation options and a decision will be taken on these as soon as possible to ensure the development and maintenance of electricity generation in Northern Ireland.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement about the future generation of electricity in Northern Ireland.

The then Secretary of State made a statement on this subject on 22 May 1985 at columns 418–19. The Department of Ecomomic Development is currently evaluating a number of future generation options and no decision has yet been taken on future generation strategy in Northern Ireland.