The search for sites to extract gas from coal could have implications for the huge reserves under the Kenilworth area.
A bid for a licence from the Coal Authority to carry out underground coal gasification (UCG) from a site within a big chunk of land betweeen Leamington, Southam and Rugby has been made.
And in the 1980s plans were put forward for a pit at South Hurst Farm, Crackley, to mine part of the Warwickshire Thick Seam, which stretches from north of Coventry to south Warwickshire.
Coal would have been taken off using the old Kenilworth to Berkswell rail line.
The National Coal Board plan went to public enquiry but was eventually shelved.
UCG involves putting pure oxygen down a borehole, which sets the coal burning and gives off synthesis gas.
Supporters say that unlike fracking, UCG does not fracture underground rock, which can cause earth tremors.
Veteran Kenilworth Tory councillor Michael Coker remembers the row over the Crackley pit plan and said: “There would be concerns about the threat to the environment and the water table.
“In protecting our own area – which might already be damaged enough by HS2 – we would want to be very sure about any UCG. It would need very careful consideration.
“As a nation we have to face the fact that we need energy, but that’s not the only consideration – it’s also about the impact on the environment and people’s quality of life.”
Prof David Elmes, head of Warwick Business School’s global energy group, said: “This is completely different from fracking, though it raises comparable concerns.
“It is a new form of energy not yet used at scale anywhere in the world, though it is at the pilot stage in other countries.
“The company knows it is a sensitive issue that needs to be explored carefully, and concerns over its economic, commercial and environmental viability need addressing.
“This all needs looking into and the rules of the game have not even been established yet.”