RJB shares jump on 'clean coal' environment prospects

Shares in RJB Mining, Britain's biggest coal producer, leapt 10 per cent yesterday as hopes grew that a future Labour government would support its plans for a new generation of environmentally-friendly clean coal power stations.

The company was also bolstered by confirmation that National Power, the country's largest electricity generator, is joining RJB and Texaco to study the feasibility of building a 400-megawatt clean coal station next to RJB's Kellingley pit in west Yorkshire.

Both RJB and National Power warned, however, that government backing was essential to support the commercial development of the new technology.

They are suggesting that the next government allow the new stations to be subsidised in the same way as nuclear and renewable energy are through a levy included in electricity bills.

Richard Budge, chief executive of RJB, said that the pounds 150m cost of this could be met by keeping the levy at its present level of 3.7 per cent rather than reducing it to 2.2 per cent next year.

He warned that consumers would end up paying either way since if the "dash for gas" by generators continued then alternative coal generation would not be available.

"If we are to retain, in the short term, an electricity market for coal of around 40-45 million tonnes a year then a considerable burn in clean coal power stations will have to be achieved," Mr Budge told a gathering of coal industry executives in London.

The first integrated gasification clean coal plant that RJB wants to build at Kellingley would cost about pounds 300m and produce electricity at a cost of 3p a unit, compared with 2.2p for gas-fired stations and the current pool price of 2.5p.

RJB estimates that there is a UK market for about 5,000-megawatts of clean coal power generating a turnover of pounds 1bn a year.

But the company says that the world-wide market for the technology could be worth up to $500bn (pounds 307bn) by 2010.

Building 5,000-megawatts of clean coal plant would be enough to satisfy about 10 per cent of demand in Britain and would create a market for 10- 12 million tonnes of coal.

At present RJB supplies 30 million tonnes a year to the three main coal- fired generators.

But these contracts are due to expire next April and a fall in sales is likely without the go-ahead for new environmentally friendly coal stations.

Keith Henry, chief executive of National Power, said that at present it was cheaper to fit anti-pollution kit to existing coal-fired stations than build new ones based on the clean coal technology.

However, he added: "It has the potential to be the best option for new build as it meets tougher environmental restrictions."

The flue gas desulphurisation equipment fitted to coal stations now filters out sulphur emissions but does not stop the main greenhouse gas carbon monoxide. Nor does it improve plant efficiency.

The new clean coal stations being examined by RBJ and its partners are up to 40 per cent more efficient.

National Power is already involved in a project to build a 335 megawatt clean coal plant at Puertollano in Spain.

A clean coal plant based on Texaco's technology has meanwhile recently opened in Tampa, Florida.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing