HC Deb 10 December 1973 vol 866 cc10-1
3. Mr. Rost

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of Central Electricity Generating Board oil-and coal-fired generating plant is at present converting less than 35 per cent. of the thermal value of fuel input into consumable energy.

The Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. Peter Emery)

The latest Annual Report of the Central Electricity Generating Board shows that in 1972–73 96 per cent. of output capacity was operating at a thermal efficiency of less than 35 per cent.

Mr. Rost

Does not my hon. Friend agree that it is time we replanned our electricity generating programme with a view to encouraging the construction of more, smaller on-site power stations where waste heat could be converted into useful energy, rather than continuing with a programme of large and remote power stations where 60 per cent. of the fuel input is wasted in the cooling systems and the grid system?

Mr. Emery

Although I appreciate my hon. Friend's argument, I do not think that it would necessarily be acceptable to the House to embark at Question Time upon a fundamental debate on the laws of thermodynamics. However, there are two aspects to my hon. Friend's question. The first is that district heating schemes are under serious consideration. The second is that, none the less, the steam pressure of 2,000 psi at temperatures of over 500 degrees C., which is the standard operation on most CEGB plants, is really quite good.