Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and a member of Holyrood’s economy and energy committee, is urging communities around the Forth to oppose plans for underground coal gasification.
Drilling firm Cluff, one of a number of firms with licences to extract gas from coal seams around the Scottish coast, says it intends to apply for planning permission to develop drilling operations under the Firth of Forth. Gasification involves drilling into coal seams, igniting them and capturing the resulting gas from a borehole. Even with as-yet unproven carbon capture and storage technology, coal gasification would still emit more greenhouse gases than renewables.
“Just a week after the IPCC warned that we need to urgently phase out fossil fuels, we have a company preparing to drill for yet more. In recent months I’ve been hearing from local people rightly alarmed at the prospect of unconventional gas drilling in their area, and I’d urge communities to oppose such developments.
“The local authorities and the environmental regulator Sepa must take into account the climate impact from this proposal. It also poses an economic risk by extracting fossil fuel we simply can’t afford to burn, and diverting attention away from the renewables sector that is steadily growing the long-term, well-paid jobs we all want to see.”
Last year a poll by the Scottish Greens in West Fife about coal gasification showed widespread concern: http://www.scottishgreens.org.uk/uncategorized/dunfermline-green-poll-shows-concern-over-gas-plans/
Excitement over ‘clean’ underground coal gasification masks technical reality (Carbon Brief): http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2014/04/underground-coal-gasification-theory-and-reality/