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Save Eggborough Power Station Says GMB

Thursday, September 3, 2015

GMB Urge UK Government To Save Eggborough Power Station Until Viable Replacement Capacity Is Available

UK Government should grant the station the subsidies it needs to meet the carbon taxes and I urge them to do until there is a viable replacement in place says GMB.

GMB, the union for energy workers, commented on the announcement that EPH is beginning consultation on the future of Eggborough Power Station. See copy of report from BBC website.

Eggborough in North Yorkshire is a 2GW coal-fired power station with four units which supplies 4% of the power in the UK enough to supply 3 million homes. It employs about 300 full time staff plus contractors.

Phil Whitehurst, GMB National Officer for engineering construction, said “This is yet another indictment of the failing energy policies of the Conservative Government. It is a further indication the ruthless policies of George Osborne and the Conservatives focus purely on austerity and saving money and not on the jobs that will be lost. This focus ignore the supply chain that will be potentially sent to the wall if this strategically placed power station which supplies 4% of the UK's electricity is allowed to close.

This 53 year old power station was sold last year by Eggborough Power Ltd (EPL) to the Eastern Europe power company EPH which based in the Czech Republic. There was shovel ready £750ml biomass conversion about to start. However the conversion was put on hold because the UK Government would not grant EPL the subsidies to continue. EPL had no other alternative but to either close the station or sell it, and here we are again on the cusp of closure with the new owners one year later.

The company has announced that it has entered into consultation regarding the station's future, and has not yet announced a closure date.

This consultation may delay the closure but in my experience of other such announcements on other station's the writing is on the wall unless the UK Government grants the station the subsidies to meet the carbon taxes it needs to continue. I urge them to do at least until there is a viable replacement in place.”

End

Contact:  Phil Whitehurst 07966 338810 or GMB press office 079212 89880 or 07974 251 823

Notes to editors

Report on BBC website

Power station begins closure consultation

·      2 September 2015

Eggborough Power Station have said it will stop generating power in March 2016, subject to consultations with staff and "government bodies".

The 53-year-old coal-fired power station, near Selby, North Yorkshire, employs around 240 people.

The company said it required additional funding of £200m over the next three years to continue generating power.

It said it could not rule out some redundancies, though some roles might be required to support decommissioning.

Neil O'Hara, chief executive of Eggborough Power Ltd, said the company was facing an unsustainable financial position due to a combination of market and regulatory conditions, including falling power prices.

He said: "We intend to conduct a thorough consultation process with our employees and their representatives while we continue to consider all options available to us, including seeking to engage with government bodies."

He added the decision had not been taken lightly, given the station's "proud history and dedicated workforce".

Unite, the union which represents a number of employees at Eggborough, said it would have talks with the company next week.

Analysis

Danni Hewson, Business Correspondent BBC Yorkshire

Drive along the M62 from Leeds to Goole and you can't fail to notice the trail of power stations; Ferrybridge, Eggborough, Drax - decades of energy production, fired in the main by coal.

It was perhaps inevitable that Eggborough would come to this point.

Eighteen months ago it generated headlines after it failed in its bid to get government help to begin conversion to biomass.

Closure was discussed but then dismissed and in November a new buyer stepped in.

But when Ferrybridge announced its closure earlier this year many wondered how Eggborough's new owners could surf the rising cost of burning coal. Today they announced they cannot.

By March this little strip of Yorkshire could see the loss of two its three burning giants - another indication that in this country at least the age of coal is past.

Nigel Adams, the Conservative MP for Selby and Ainsty, said it was "devastating" news that he had been working to avoid.

"It is a very bleak, dark day for Eggborough," he said.

"They need £200m to operate over the next three years and the carbon tax over the next three years is £250m. You don't have to be a super economist to know those figures don't stack up.

"I have got meetings with energy ministers next week. If there is a slim chance that the power station in its current form can be saved then we will make sure we save it." 240 workers are employed at the 53-year-old power station

The company said the 2,000 MW power station has the potential to power two million homes - around 4% of UK properties.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change said the UK's energy security would be unaffected by the closure.

A spokesperson said: "The government takes security of supply very seriously and has worked with National Grid to put in place an effective plan which is flexible enough to adapt to individual plant closures."

The station had previously failed in its attempts to gain support from government to convert to biomass.

 

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