UK engineering construction trades unions GMB, Unite seek meeting with UK government over its decision not to include 2,000-MW Eggborough Power Station in biomass subsidy program; coal-fired plant to close by end of 2015 without funding
January 16, 2014
– GMB Seek Meeting With Government Over Policy Change That Will Lead To Closure Of Yorkshire Power Station With Loss Of 850 Jobs
This power station is a viable if converted to biomass and there are foreign investors interested in the conversion but without the biomass subsidies the investment will not happen says GMB
The Engineering Construction trades unions, GMB and Unite, are seeking an urgent meeting with the UK Government over the omission of the proposed biomass development of Eggborough Power Station from the original list of projects to go ahead. Unless Government reverses this decision the power station will close by end of 2015 with a loss of 850 jobs in the power station. See notes to editors for copies of letters to Secretary of State.
Eggborough is a 2,000 megawatt (MW) coal fired station in North Yorkshire. It is one of the largest generating stations, currently, providing 4% of Britain’s total electricity supply, keeping the lights on in three million homes. The station is owned by Blue Bay Asset Management and Strategic Value Partners.
The Chief Executive of Eggborough Power Limited announced in November plans to convert the station from coal to biomass as part of a £750 million expansion project for the station. The project which was due to start on the 6th January 2014 has now stalled. If it had gone ahead this would have been one of the single largest construction project in Britain to commence in the first quarter of 2014.
Phil Whitehurst GMB National Officer for Engineering Construction said “This power station has been left high and dry because the carbon capture project at neighbouring Drax power station is more favourable to the Government’s failing energy policy.
850 in house workers will go, as well as thousands in the supply chain. In addition a £60m investment at Immingham Docks, and another one at Teesport will be shelved. These port facilities would have handled the biomass fuel imports. The rail networks to handle the movement of the fuel from the docks to the power station from both ports will also be shelved.
The imminent closure of Eggborough is another indictment of the failing energy policy of this Government. This power station is a viable generation facility if converted to biomass. There are foreign investors interested, but without the biomass subsidies the investment will not happen.
When will this Government wake up to the facts of economic life. It does not take Einstein to work out, that if our power infrastructure is not under public control, then foreign investors want a return on their investment in the form of subsidies, and without these subsidies this power station will close, with the loss of 800 in-house workers and hundreds more in the supply chain”
Notes to editors letters to Department of Energy and Climate Change from GMB and Unite dated 22 December and 9th January.
9th January 2014
The Rt Hon. Edward Davey, Secretary of State , Department of Energy and Climate Change, 3 Whitehall Place, London, SW1 2AW
Dear Mr Davey,
Ref:- Eggborough Power Station
Recently, l wrote to you on the 22nd December 2013, on the above subject and l appreciate that due to the recent winter break l have not received a response to the letter.
More significantly, the Trade Unions have serious concerns in relation to DECC decision to omit the proposed Biomass development of Eggborough Power Station from the original list of projects and the effect of that decision having on future infrastructure projects in the region, has now resulted with the stalling of the expansion of the Immingham Docks.
Accordingly, the Trade Unions are now seeking an urgent meeting with the Secretary of State at your earliest convenience, to discuss DECC decision, which will actually result in the closure of Eggborough Power Station in 2015.
I am sending this by email with a signed hard copy in the post
Yours sincerely BERNARD McAULAY NECC SECRETARY Cc P Whitehurst GMB NECC Chair
22nd December 2013
The Rt Hon. Edward Davey, Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, 3 Whitehall Place, London, SW1A 2AW.
Ref:- Eggborough Power Station
Following the recent announcement surrounding the future of Eggborough Power Station, we believe this development has been seriously jeopardised due to recent changes by your department.
Eggborough is a 2,000 megawatt (MW) coal fired station in North Yorkshire, also it’s one of the largest generating stations, currently, providing 4% of Britain’s total electricity supply, keeping the lights on in three million homes.
Recently, Eggborough Power Station celebrated 1million hours of power which is a remarkable achievement for those 800 employees working for the Client at the station, along with those in the supply chain supporting the station from the surrounding communities.
The announcement in November by the Chief Executive of Eggborough Power Limited, in converting the station to Biomass as part of a £750 million expansion project for the station and the region was significant. With the project due to start on the 6th January 2014, this would have been one of the single largest construction project in Britain to commence in the first quarter of 2014.
We recognise the importance of transforming ageing infrastructure plant’s like Eggborough, into a major new renewable energy power house, delivering the Government’s low carbon agenda, whilst extending the life of the facility, securing the existing 800 jobs creating thousands of construction, engineering, rail and ports jobs throughout the Total Construction Phase of the project including the supply chain (Alstom and others) across the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire region.
We understand from speaking with the Representatives of the Major Companies involved in negotiations to construct the next generation of new Biomass plants, the Client must reach financial closure before the year end but as such they are been prevented from doing so due to late changes under DECC Final Investment Decision Enabling Process.
The impact of this project not proceeding will have a significant effect on thousands of jobs direct and indirect (including apprentices) potentially been lost across the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire region, which is simply unthinkable as the region has a very proud and distinguish heritage of training high skilled quality workers.
Surely if the Government seriously intend to attract inward investment, whilst promoting the Low Carbon agenda, they must support this project protecting both the engineering and construction industries workforce who will deliver the next generation of major infrastructure projects for the benefit of the UK as this project must be a priority.
Yours sincerely, BERNARD McAULAY, NECC SECRETARY Cc P Whitehurst GMB chair