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Coal: Pollution Control

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will make it his policy to allocate funds to the development of clean coal technology in order to reduce levels of coal imports; and if he will make a statement. (254398)

[holding answer 11 February 2009]: The Government's policy on clean coal technologies was set out in the “Strategy for Developing Carbon Abatement Technologies for Fossil Fuel Use” in 2005 and more recently in the Energy White Paper, 2007. Clean coal technologies include: higher efficiency conversion processes; fuel switching to lower carbon alternative such as biomass co-firing; and C02 capture and storage (CCS). Some of these approaches will result in increased efficiency of the operation of the generation plant, but some such as CCS will require additional energy to operate.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) supports demonstration of carbon abatement technologies through the Environmental Transformation Fund (ETF). To date DECC has committed £2.2 million to an oxy-fuel combustion CCS project.

In addition the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) support R & D on clean coal technologies via the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the research councils. The TSB has identified carbon abatement technologies as a priority area in its energy generation and supply strategy and currently supports around 11 projects with a total value of around £ 13.4 million.

The research councils also support a wide range of underpinning research and training in carbon abatement technologies through their research councils’ energy programme and through their individual programmes. In the last five years some 25 projects covering CCS totalling over £23 million have been funded.

Sourcing of coal is a matter for generators and other coal users, but the Government believe that making the best use of UK energy resources, including coal reserves, contributes to our security of supply goals, and that this reflects a value in maintaining access to economically viable reserves of coal.