Kingsnorth coal plant scrapped

Energy giant E.ON has shelved plans to build the controversial coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent, citing economic reasons.

E.ON, one of the UK’s leading power and gas companies, first applied to build the plant in 2006.

The decision to go ahead with the plan was later put on hold pending a government decision on whether carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology needed to be implemented and how the costs would be met.

The Kingsnorth project was one of two schemes shortlisted as part of the Government’s competition pledging funds for CCS development, however, it became clear that the company was unable in the current economic climate to meet the competition timescales.

E.ON chief executive, Dr Paul Golby, said: “Having postponed Kingsnorth last year, it has become clear that the economic conditions are still not right for us to progress the project and so, simply put, we have no power station on which to build a CCS demonstration.

“We therefore took the decision to withdraw from the Government’s competition because we cannot proceed within the competition timescales.

The plans for the site have been controversial and have attracted protestors from Greenpeace and other environmental groups, including the Great Climate Swoop last year. Jim Footner, the head of Greenpeace’s climate and energy campaign, welcomed the news and criticised the timing of the announcement:

“It is surely no accident that Eon chose the same day as the government’s spending review to quietly announce they’re ditching their controversial plan for a coal plant at Kingsnorth.

“However, it does underline that right now the economics for new coal simply don’t stack up.

“But we need to make sure the future of dirty coal plants is dictated by climate and energy security needs, not simply the prevailing economic winds.

EON chief executive, Dr Paul Golby, has insisted that the company is against CCS development:

“As a Group we still believe that carbon capture and storage is a vital technology in the fight against climate change and will now be concentrating our efforts on our Maasvlakte project in the Netherlands as we believe the lessons from that project can be brought back to the UK for future generation CCS projects.

The future and survival of CCS developments may become clearer today in the government’s Comprehensive Spending when they announce the plans for funding.

Alison Brown

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