The Anonymous Widower

The Beginning Of The End For Coal In The UK

This article on the BBC is entitled First coal-free day in Britain since Industrial Revolution.

This is opening two paragraphs.

Britain went a full day without using coal to generate electricity for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, the National Grid says.

The energy provider said Friday’s lack of coal usage was a “watershed” moment.

Let’s hope it’s not a long goodbye.

Sadly, whilst there are people like Trumkopf about, it will be a long time before coal burning across the world descreases to a low level.

April 23, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Trump’s Plan Won’t Reverse Coal’s Decline

That is the title of this article on FiveThirtyEight.

It explains that coal’s problem is not Obama and his legislation, but that natural gas is so much

This is a paragraph.

Trump — along with many of his supporters in coal-producing states — blames Obama’s environmental policies for the coal industry’s struggles. And it’s true that U.S. coal consumption dropped precipitously during Obama’s time in office. But the timing is largely coincidental: Coal’s biggest problem isn’t regulation — it’s natural gas.

There are several interesting graphs worth looking at.

I think we should all be worried about Trump’s mental health, as he is showing all the logic of a typical East European mad dictator.

March 29, 2017 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

UK ‘Need Not Fear Electricity Blackouts’ Says Ex-National Grid Boss

This is the title of another article on the BBC.

This is said.

The UK has enough energy capacity to meet demand – even on the coldest days when demand is highest, says Steve Holliday, the man who ran National Grid for a decade.

He said news stories raising fears about blackouts should stop.

The article goes on to say how gas and coal-fired plants that would have been scrapped will fill any gaps.

They may do, but I have this feeling that energy users and especially big ones are much more savvy than they used to be and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the UK manage next winter without using coal, which produces a lot more CO2 and pollution, than natural gas.

I also think that after 2018, we’ll start to see new technologies and projects generating electricity or bringing it to the UK.

We might even have seen a start on the ICElik or Atlantic Superconnector, which will bring green electricity from Iceland to the UK.

January 30, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Trump And Charles In Climate Row

This is the headline on the front page of today’s Sunday Times.

Trump is not necessarily wrong about climate change, but cutting CO2 and other polluting emissions is prudent.

If a man met a gorgeous young lady on the back streets of say Marseilles or any other port city and she offers him flavours, then he would take precautions.

Trump said as much, when Putin was accusing him of various things, when he said he was paranoid about germs or something similar.

So it’s alright for him to take personal precautions, but the rest of the world can go get fucked.

There are some things we shouldn’t do, because they may be dangerous to the planet.

Burning coal is one of them, which Trump has said he will promote.

But then, if the United States continues to mine and burn coal, the pristine air of some parts of the country will disappear, just like it has in China.

I do wonder if President Trumkokf has even been to Beijing!


January 29, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Coal’s Economic Victims

Coal still claims victims, but these days, the biggest ones are economic and corporate.

In the United States, this article has been published on Bloomberg, with a title of Coal Slump Sends Mining Giant Peabody Energy Into Bankruptcy.

The article makes these points.

  • Biggest U.S. producer felled by cheap gas, China slowdown
  • Environmental costs could complicate miner’s reorganisation

How many US pensions have lost value because Peabody was considered a safe investment?

As fracked cheap gas is given as the reason for Peabody’s fall, don’t think that the US is swapping one dirty fuel for another!

  • When you burn coal, which is virtually pure carbon with impurities, you create a lot of carbon dioxide and spread the impurities, which are sometimes quite noxious over a wide area.
  • But natural gas is mainly methane, which is one carbon atom and four of hydrogen. So burning gas creates a lot of water, as well as less carbon.

I seem to remember that to get the same amount of heat energy from natural gas, as from a given quantity of coal, you only create about forty percent of the carbon dioxide.

This page on the US Energy Information Administration probably can lead you to the answer.

In the UK, there are two recent stories on Global Rail News.

Rail freight is going through a bit of a crisis in the UK, because we are burning much less coal in power stations.

As coal is moved to power stations by diesel-hauled trains in the UK, from open-cast sites and the ports, the burning of less coal in power stations is having a serious effect on rail freight companies.

At least, if any train drivers are made redundant, there are plenty of vacancies for drivers of passenger trains and I’ve yet to meet a freight train driver, you likes the dreaded Class 66 locomotives, with all their noise, vibration and smell, that generally pull coal trains.

But it’s not all bad news, as this article from the Railway Gazette, which is entitled Freightliner wagons use recycled coal hopper components, shows. This is said.

Freightliner has taken delivery of the first of 64 open wagons which are being built by Greenbrier Europe using bogies and brake components recovered from coal hoppers made redundant as a result of the decline in coal traffic.

Freightliner Heavy Haul needed a fleet of high capacity box wagons for a new contract to haul construction materials for Tarmac, and decided to investigate the possibility of using recycled parts from redundant Type HHA 102 tonne coal hoppers. With assistance from engineering consultancy SNC Lavalin, Freightliner and Greenbrier Europe identified that with some modifications the bogies and some of the braking equipment would be compatible with an existing design of Greenbrier box wagon.

To a small extent, the movement of aggregates around the country by rail instead of truck, is replacing the coal trains on the the railways.

October 21, 2016 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Did Aberfan Change My Thinking About Coal?

I have just watched a moving piece by John Humphrys on the BBC, which describes Aberfan now and compares it to what he remembers from fifty years ago.

Growing up in London, I remember the awful smogs of the 1950s caused by domestic coal smoke, so that might have had an affect on my thinking.

But I have been strongly anti-coal for as long as I can remember and I suspect that the tragedy of Aberfan, finally sealed its fate in my mind.

Coal mining tragedies used to happen regularly at that time all over the world and I probably felt it was just too high a price to pay for energy.

I must be one of the few people, who felt, through all of this country’s coal mining troubles of the latter twentieth-century, that the mines should be shut immediately.

I always remember an article in the Guardian, that stated that miners should be retrained into teams, that went round and insulated our pathetic housing stock. If you’ve ever put insulation into a roof, in some cases, it’s very much akin to Victorian coal-mining in reverse.

After all the greenest form of energy, is not to have to generate it in the first place.

I have solar panels on the flat roof of my three-bedroomed house, and even in the Autumn, I only use 50 KwH of electricity and 20 units of gas every week.


October 21, 2016 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Coal Is On The Way Out!

In my view, the only sensible use for coal, is using it to create products for  uses like medicines.

The Army also found a use for coal, when they got National Service recruits to [paint it white to give them a job to do.

But two stories tell the world that the Western World has decided that coal is like the lady and not for burning.


This story in the Guardian is entitled Peabody Energy, world’s largest private coalminer, may file for bankruptcy. This is said.

The world’s largest private coal mining company is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, driven to the brink of collapse by plummeting energy prices around the world, cheaper and less polluting rivals such as natural gas, and widespread economic uncertainty.

When you consider that to get the same energy out of natural gas compared to coal, you generate a lot less carbon dioxide and a lot less of other pollutants, is it surprising? Especially, as the whole process is probably cheaper!

This story in Rail Magazine is entitled FLHH axes 145 jobs as coal cuts bite. This is said.

Freightliner Heavy Haul (FLHH) is to cut 145 ground staff, shunting and driving jobs as the closure of coal-fired power stations accelerates.

Economic forces are seeing that King Coal is killed.

I won’t be shedding any tears.


March 17, 2016 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Good Riddance To Coal-Fired Power Stations

This article on the BBC is entitled UK’s coal plants to be phased out within 10 years. This is said.

The UK’s remaining coal-fired power stations will be shut by 2025 with their use restricted by 2023, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has proposed.

Ms Rudd wants more gas-fired stations to be built since relying on “polluting” coal is “perverse”.

Because coal is pure carbon, when it burns, if produces carbon dioxide.

On the other hand, natural gas, is a mixture of hydrogen and methane, which is a compound of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atons.  So when it burns, it produces a lot of the combustion product of hydrogen, which is water.

I think to get the same amount of heat or produce a given amount of electricity, natural gas creates about half the amount of carbon dioxide, than coal does.

There is another advantage of using gas to generate electricity. You can have small power stations generating electricity, where it is needed.

An interesting small gas-powered power station is the Bunhill Energy Centre in Islington, which is used to generate electricity and heat for some of the Council’s buildings. Phase 2 of this project will capture waste heat from the London Underground and a large electricity sub-station, that will be used to heat more buildings.

These cogeneration systems will become more numerous. For instance, if you had say a large detached house in the country, you might use solar panels or a wind turbine, backed by a microCHP system for dark or still days.

We shouldn’t underestimate, the skill of engineers to design electricity combined heat and power systems matched to all the different markets.

There will come a time, where many of us will generate the electricity we need, either by ourselves or perhaps in a local co-operative. We could even sell the surplus back to the grid.

I will not predict what a system will look like, but it will heat your house and provide you with the electricity you need.

The one thing, I will predict that coal will not have any use for the generation of electricity.

November 18, 2015 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment

My Kind Of Energy Company

I found this article on entitled Ovo Shuns Coal And Nuclear.

I am very much against using coal as a fuel for various reasons, but as I get older and hopefully wiser, I feel that nuclear energy is non-viable economically.

The cost of the new station at Hinkley Point doesn’t look good value for money, when compared to some of the new developments in the pipeline.

Tidal, such as the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, personal solar and linking the UK to Iceland with an undersea cable, might well prove to be better long term investments.

So I applaud OVO for their stance and will continue to use them as my energy supplier.

October 17, 2015 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Is Coal In Terminal Decline?

I’m no lover of coal, because of all the pollution and carbon dioxide it creates. I’ve also never met anyone from a coal mining family, who would ever want to work in a mine.

So when I look at the latest freight statistics from the Office of Rial and Road, I am rather pleased to see that in the last year coal traffic on UK railways has fallen over the last twelve months, from 1.66 billion net tonne km to 0.64 billion net tonne km (a drop of 61.2%).

As this is mainly imported coal to be burned in coal-fired power stations, I don’t think it is bad for employment. Power stations may be closing, but new ones must be opening to fill the gap in electricity generation.

September 29, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment