There can be no doubt that there is a demand for coal. World energy trends make that clear. Within the UK, we have been saved from power cuts by the generation of energy from coal. Although amounting to only 14% of UK energy demand, coal is a vital part of the UK energy policy, and the Government acknowledges that coal will be part of a balanced energy supply. We must not put barriers in the way of coal simply because people do not like it as a fuel. However the use of coal as a fuel must be sustainable and the moves towards Clean Coal Technology and carbon capture are obviously correct.
Wales still has significant recoverable coal reserves. These reserves have the potential not only to help to meet our national demand for coal and to reduce our dependence on imported primary fuels, but also to contribute to the economic vitality and skills base of the country.
A balanced judgement is required. Almost on a daily basis, energy is a matter of grave concern for politicians. Oil and gas price rises are causing hardship and economic worries, and energy has become a difficult political issue. However, there is an emerging energy gap which cannot be filled by Nuclear Power, by Renewable Power or by Energy Efficiency. It can only be met by Coal or Gas. Whilst gas may the easy option, it could be the most economically damaging and of course is far less secure. The UK Government is charged with the task of making sure supplies are found, that they are secure and sustainable. Clean Coal Technology is the key, and Aberthaw Power Station is at the forefront of development in this regard. There is room for all fuels in the energy debate and it is up to all in politics, industry and the public to ensure that such an objective is achieved.
Celtic Energy can and will play its part in meeting the demand for coal from Aberthaw and elsewhere.