Underground Coal Gasification in Swansea Bay
(Letter to the South Wales Evening Post)
The Lougher Estuary proposal (‘Coal firm’s bid to produce energy from under estuary’, page 4, Tuesday 28 September) is part of a wider plan to exploit the coal seams under Swansea Bay.
The spokesman for Cluff Coal states that Underground Coal Gasification (UCG), “had been demonstrated on a commercial basis in the US.” I have serious doubts about this statement.
What has been demonstrated is that it is possible to extract gas from ignited underground coal seams in commercial quantities; but they are a long way from demonstrating that it is safe to do so.
The companies involved will, of course, tell you that it is perfectly safe and controllable, glossing over the fact that currently there are thousands of underground coal seam fires burning uncontrolled across the world.
In Germany there are records showing one coal seam that burned continuously for over 400 years, and another that was first ignited in 1668 continues to burn today.
In Centralia, Pennsylvania an underground coal seam has been burning since May 1962. This has resulted in the whole borough being cleared of residents and all properties being seized by the state and condemned.
To deliberately set light to any underground coal seam is utter folly; to propose to do this beneath the sea is sheer madness. In areas as environmentally sensitive as the Lougher Estuary and Swansea Bay it is totally unacceptable.
Keith M Ross
Hey Swanseabeachcomber, I have family that live in Limeslade. I would like to offer support to your campaign.
Dawn, I’m just an individual saying my piece. There is a local group in Swansea called SAFE (‘Swansea Against Fracked Energy’). They have a facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/FrackedSwansea/info?ref=ts) where you can get more information. You could also take a look at the ‘Frack Off’ website (http://frack-off.org.uk/), Bridgend Green Party blog (http://bridgendgreens.wordpress.com/) and Swansea Friends of the Earth (http://www.swanseafoe.org.uk/).
Hope that helps.
Do you have any sources for the 400 year burning coal seam? I’m very interested in this coal gasification process. Although extraction of fossil fuels is still not an environmentally sound idea, not all fossil fuel extraction methods are created equal.
Jay, I got the information from Wikipedia. Search for “Coal seam fire” and then look under ‘Germany’ There’s a lot of information there about coal seam fires all over the world.