HC Deb 02 April 1984 vol 57 c641
15. Mr. Pike

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if, when he next meets the chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board, he will discuss the board's future proposals for conversion of the remaining oil-fired power stations to coal.

Mr. Giles Shaw

It is for the CEGB to determine whether, in the light of all relevant factors, it wishes to propose the conversion of all or some of its oil-fired stations, and I should wish to discuss any specific proposals with the chairman of the board.

Mr. Pike

As Britain has large coal reserves, and oil is a diminishing resource, should not the Government be urging the CEGB to use as much coal as possible? Would not the conversion of existing power stations extend the life of some of those stations, such as Padiham in the Burnley constituency, which at present use 50 per cent. coal and 50 per cent. oil, thereby helping to meet a probable shortfall of electricity generation in the early 1990s?

Mr. Shaw

I welcome the hon. Gentleman's interest in maintaining the present flow of coal to power stations. However, he will be the first to accept that the CEGB has already committed a large amount of forward planning to coal burning in power stations. Indeed, it has a four-year commitment to take in the order of 70 million tonnes to fuel the power stations. The hon. Gentleman is right—all the time the CEGB is looking at the most efficient means of extending its use of thermal equipment to coal burning.