first thoughts: power and anarchy
WORKERS, JANUARY 2003 ISSUE
THE GOVERNMENTS white paper on energy is expected early in 2003. The anarchy, bank-ruptcy and uncertainty affecting the electricity utility companies is well documented (see feature, p6). The death rattle of the coal indus-try seems to be unheard in Downing Street.
There are 16 deep coal mines open in Britain. One, Ellington, has a life expectancy of five years. Three have a life expectancy of ten years: Clipstone, Thorseby and Wellbeck. Four have a life expectancy greater than 10 years: Kellingley, Rossington, Tower and Hatfield.
In 10 years Britain may have only 4 deep mines working: 3 in Yorkshire, 1 in Wales. Millions of tons of coal will remain unmined. Coal imports still flood the country from the USA, South Africa, South America 30 million tonnes, equivalent to 30 pits, 30,000 jobs.
It is estimated that 2020 will see 70% of Britains electricity produced by gas generation, with 90% of that gas imported. The governments white paper on energy will make interesting reading an epitaph to the coal industry, perhaps?