Britain will face an energy shortage owing to the lack of incentives to invest in non-renewable power, energy union Prospect has warned. The warning follows an announcement on 3 September of the closure of the 2000 MW coal fired Eggborough power station, which the union described as another economic blow for Yorkshire.
Prospect negotiator Michael Macdonald commented: "Due to far higher carbon taxes than the rest of the European Union, and the lack of a planned transition to low-carbon technology, investment in large power plants has been constrained for the past decade. Faced with a higher tax bill of £320m over the next three years, and no certainty about the future, there is no financial incentive for Eggborough to invest in clean coal technology to keep the lights on."
Macdonald said capacity could be maintained this winter through a combination of industrial customers disconnecting from the grid and the use of diesel generation to plug the gap caused by the closure of Britain’s coal-fired power stations. "But in the longer term the loss of coal-fired generation removes the skills and infrastructure required to make a success of carbon capture and storage that offers secure energy at low prices," he warned. Prospect is calling for an urgent review of carbon taxes and future capacity payments to create an incentive to invest in clean coal technology, an energy transition plan that retains a balanced energy policy and enables investors to plan the transition to a low-carbon economy and workers to develop the high-tech skills needed for future energy needs, and further investment in energy research and development to enable the commercial deployment of clean coal as part of a rebalancing of the country’s economy.