§ Mr. Ioan Evans
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether a decision has been taken on the recommendations of the working party which was set up to consider the problems of power station coal in South Wales; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Eadie
As my hon. Friend knows, I have chaired the working party—comprising my hon. Friend the Under-240W
which are installed and suitably used in accordance with the fuel industries' and makers' recommendations should achieve the following annual thermal efficiencies, at the point of use:
Secretary of State for Wales and representatives of the CEGB, the NCB and of the coal industry unions and the electricity supply industry union—which has been considering the problem of power station coal in South Wales. This is low-volatile coal which requires special power stations to burn it in quantity, all of which are in South Wales. There have been delays in the largest of these—Abetthaw B—achieving full output as a result of which stocks of coal have reached an abnormally high level. The other special stations have a lower efficiency and, at the normal price of the low-volatile coal, their position in the CEGB's merit order has not justified their burning the surplus coal.
The CEGB and the NCB have now reached an agreement under which the price of additional low-volatile Welsh coal to be burnt in the other power stations will be reduced during the remainder of the financial year to end of March 1978. The Government have agreed that, subject to the passing of the Coal Industry Bill, they will meet part of the cost to the NCB of this agreement and any extension of it before Aberthaw B is due to come into full operation about a year from now, when the CEGB's capacity to burn South Wales coal should at least match production. The objective is to avoid any further significant accumulation of stocks of South Wales power station coal during this period. The financial assistance which the Government are prepared to provide is about £2 million.