HC Deb 13 February 1978 vol 944 cc21-2
16. Mr. Edwin Wainwright

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the names of the new generating plants now under construction; what kinds of fuel are to be used; what is the capacity in each case; and if he will make a statement on what effect these new plants will have on the amount of coal required for power station consumption.

Mr. Eadie

With permission, I will publish the information relating to England and Wales in the Official Report. Power stations in Scotland and Northern Ireland are the responsibilities of the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively. The CEGB expects to have the capacity to burn at least 85 million to 90 million tonnes of coal a year by 1990, and coal will retain its major role in electricity generation. The actual fuelburn in any year will, of course, depend not only on installed capacity but on the actual price and availability of fossil fuels at that time.

Mr. Wainwright

Does my hon. Friend realise that because of the lack of a clear-cut Government policy many miners' leaders are wondering whether the increased coal output resulting from the incentive scheme will bring pit closures in its wake? Can he give a guarantee to the National Union of Mineworkers and the industry about the future of coal mining? Does he not think it is time that the Government had a national fuel plan so that the chairmen of the energy producing industries could come together and discuss the matter in a co-ordinated way instead of objecting to each others' policies?

Mr. Eadie

On the assumptions in the reference case of the Department's published forecast, coalburn will increase over the next decade. Therefore, that to some extent should alleviate my hon. Friend's anxieties. As for coal's prospects, last year we passed the Coal Industry Act and very shortly I shall be publishing the report of the working party on coal research and development. If anything, it will illustrate how certain is the future of coal in this country, and it should give some security of purpose to the men who work in the industry.

Following is the information:

Name of Station with Fuel and Nominal Capacity (MW)
Hinkley Point B
AGR 1320*
Dungeness B
AGR 1200
AGR 1320
AGR 1320
Oil 3300
Ince B
Oil 1000
Oil 1980
Pumped storage 1800
Bull's Bridge
Gas turbine 280
Gas turbine 140
Gas turbine 140
Ocker Hill
Gas turbine 280
Taylor's Lane
Gas turbine 140
Gas turbine 140
* Includes one 660 MW set already commissioned.

In addition, the Government have approved the construction of the 1980-MW second stage of Drax and the CEGB has also been authorised to begin work at once with a view to ordering one AGR station as soon as possible.