The Anonymous Widower

Cumbrian Coast’s Coal Comeback?

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Issue 874 of Rail Magazine.

When I saw this article, I thought it was rather surprising, as coal is rather the arch-demon to environmentalists.

But this is not about coal for producing electricity, but metallurgical coal, that will be used in steelmaking.

West Cumbria Mining are proposing the mine and ofn their web site, the following is said.

West Cumbria Mining is investing in developing plans for the creation of a metallurgical coal mine off the coast near Whitehaven in West Cumbria to supply the UK and European steel-making coal market, which currently imports around 45 million tonnes per annum.

I would assume the 45 million tonnes refers to the total of the UK and European markets. S there is certainly a large market to supply, if the price is right.

Woodhouse Colliery

This extract describes how the mine will be created.

Woodhouse Colliery would be created using the access tunnels to old anhydrite workings at the former Sandwith Drift Mine, on the edge of Whitehaven. Until 2004, the site was occupied by the Marchon chemical works.

Studies have determined that sufficient coal reserves could be accessed to sustain mining operations for at least 50 years.

This picture was taken from their web site.

It doesn’t look to be a stereotypical coal mine.

Much of the coal would appear to be mined offshore.

Use Of The Railway

This extract talks about the use of the Cumbrian Coast Line, that passes through Whitehaven.

One of the things that actually makes the project realistic and viable is that we have access to existing infrastructure. There are lots of projects where actually the biggest capital cost is the infrastructure required. We have to remove everything by rail – one: because of the volume of material; but two: we wouldn’t be able to get planning if it was a road solution.

An agreement has been reached with Freightliner to transport the coal to Redcar. With the mine in full production, six trains per day would operate Monday-Friday.

More details about the rail transport are also given.

  • There would be a single-track siding for loading.
  • The siding would be connected to the mine by a 1.4 mile coal conveyor.
  • Everything is covered, so there no dust and gas.
  • The loading will be in an acoustically-closed building.
  • Trains will have 23 wagons.
  • Class 66 or Class 70 locomotives will be used.

It does appear that they are designing most things to a high standard.

These days, if planning permission with conditions is given, the conditions are usually adhered to, as sanctions are now easier to apply through the Courts.

I do have a few thoughts.

Route Between Whitehaven And Redcar

Trains would probably go via Carlisle, Newcastle and Middlesbrough

There would not be much electrification on the route, except for on the East Coast Main Line.

I would estimate that trains would take around three hours between the Woodhouse Colliery and Redcar

Rolling Stock

The article states that the wagons would be a dedicated fleet for the operation.

Surely, they could be designed for fast and quiet operation.

Locomotives

I feel that locomotives that meet the latest European regulations should be used. Class 66 locomotives do not, Class 68 locomotives do!

I also feel that in the next five years or so, more environmentally-friend;y and quieter locomotives will become available.

Improving The Cumbrian Coast Line

The article describes how the Cumbrian Coast Line will be improved if the mine gets Planning Permission.

Conclusion

If we are going to continue to make and use steel in the UK and Europe, it looks like this mine could create wealth in a part of the UK that needs it, without causing too many negatives.

It’s an interesting project.

 

 

 

March 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Insurers Seek Rule Change To Invest In Green Power

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in today’s copy of The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

The mouthpiece for the insurance industry has called on the regulator to overhaul rules to make it easier to invest in green energy projects, such as wind farms and solar power.

Green energy projects are bad investments for the first few years, as they just burn money during construction. After that, the wind or solar farm, just produces electricity, which gives an adequate return fpr perhaps around thirty years.

As the rules stand, the returns in the construction phase are a dodgy investment.

The Prudential Regulation Authority, who make the rules, was setup in 2013, with probably a bunch of dinosaurs drawing up the rules, based on the past not the future.

These figures show the total energy generated by wind power for the last few years.

  • 2008 – 5.4 GHh
  • 2009 – 6.3 GWh
  • 2010 – 7.9 GWh
  • 2011 – 12.7 GWh
  • 2012 – 20.7 GWh
  • 2013 – 24.5 GWh
  • 2014 – 28.1 GWh
  • 2015 – 40.4 GWh
  • 2016 – 37.4 GWh
  • 2017 – 49.6 GWh

Note

  1. Between 2013 and 2017 electricity generated by wind power has doubled.
  2. In 2017, seventeen percent of our electricity was generated by wind.

These figures show the total energy generated by solar power for the last few years.

  • 2008 – 0.17 GHh
  • 2009 – 0.20 GWh
  • 2010 – .0.33 GWh
  • 2011 – 2.6 GWh
  • 2012 – 1.3 GWh
  • 2013 – 2.0 GWh
  • 2014 – 4.1 GWh
  • 2015 – 7.6 GWh
  • 2016 – 10.3 GWh
  • 2017 – 11.5 GWh

Note

  1. Between 2013 and 2017 electricity generated by solar power has increased fivefold.
  2. In 2017, 3.4 percent of our electricity was generated by the sun.

This paragraph from Wind Power In The UK on Wikipedia, shows the major growth in offshore wind power.

The total offshore wind power capacity installed in the United Kingdom as of February 2019 is 8,183 MW, the largest in the world. The United Kingdom became the world leader of offshore wind power generation in October 2008 when it overtook Denmark. It also has the largest offshore wind farm in the world, the 175-turbine London Array wind farm, located off the Kent coast.

I don’t think the Prudential Regulation Authority saw that one coming.

Conclusion

The rules should be changed

 

 

March 11, 2019 Posted by | Finance, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Schools Should Have ‘No Idling Zones’, Public Health England Chief Says

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

These are the first three paragraphs of the article.

Public health chiefs have proposed a ban on cars idling outside school gates in a bid to cut air pollution.

The measure is among a series of UK-wide recommendations put forward by Public Health England.

PHE medical director Paul Cosford told the BBC: “We should stop idling outside schools and we should make sure that children can walk or cycle to school.”

The article also lists other measures.

  • Redesigning cities so people aren’t so close to highly polluting roads by, for example, designing wider streets or using hedges to screen against pollutants
  • Investing more in clean public transport as well as foot and cycle paths
  • Encouraging uptake of low emission vehicles by setting more ambitious targets for installing electric car charging points
  • Discouraging highly polluting vehicles from entering populated areas with incentives such as low emission or clean air zones

All motherhood and apple pie, but it will be a vote loser for any Government, that tries to i9mplement it.

 

March 11, 2019 Posted by | Health, Transport | , | 2 Comments

Are The Boeing 737 MAX 8 Crashes Too Much Of A Coincidence?

When I was flying extensively as a private pilot, I used to follow air crash information closely. Many pilots do, as you might learn something that could be useful, even when you’re flying a humble Piper Arrow.

The two Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashes have a lot in common.

  • Both airlines had a good service record.
  • Both planes had only been with their airlines for a few months.
  • Both captains were experienced pilots.
  • The planes crashed soon after takeoff, after pilots requested to return to the airport.
  • Both planes appeared to dive straight into the ground or sea.

This is too much of a coincidence for me.

I won’t speculate as to what the problem is, but I do feel that both airliners succumbed to the same design fault.

The only similar problem, I can remember is the series of incidents caused by cargo doors on DC-10 airliners in the 1970s.

American Airlines Flight 96 had the first problem in 1972 and luckily no-one was killed.

Some modifications were made, but this didn’t stop the crash outside Paris of Turkish Airlines Flight 981 in 1974, which killed all 346 people on board.

Did McDonnell Douglas and the American Authorities act as professionally as they should have?

I made a decision to never fly in a DC-10 again. I actually did, but it was eleven years later, after all the problems had been fixed.

What Will Be Trump’s Reaction?

Consider.

  • Boeing has a factory to build parts and assemble aircraft in China.
  • A lot of 737 MAX 8 airlines have been ordered by Chinese airliners.
  • China is developing an airliner called a C-919, that fits the same niche as some variants of a Boeing 737.
  • China has grounded all 737 Max 8 airliners in the country.
  • China and the USA are having trade talks over tariffs and trade.
  • Boeing is one of the largest American defence contractors.

So what will Trump tweet?

Conclusion

I won’t be flying in a Boeing 737 MAX 8 for several years.

March 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 8 Comments