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
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?