Power boss blames wind farm bias for Eggborough closure

Eggborough Power Station near Selby
Eggborough Power Station near Selby
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The boss of an under-threat power station in Yorkshire has blamed the Government’s support for wind farms for his decision to shut the plant down.

Paul Tomlinson, chief operating officer of Eggborough power station, accused Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Ed Davey of providing “subjective” support for onshore and offshore wind farms, at the expense of traditional coal-fired plants which are seeking to switch to burning wood in a bid to become carbon neutral.

The Yorkshire Post revealed last year that Eggborough, near Selby, was lining up a £1bn project to convert its entire 2000MW output to burning wood-based ‘biomass’, seen as a far greener alternative to traditional coal. But the Government said in December it would not be supporting the scheme through its long-term energy subsidy programme. Bosses responded by announcing the plant would be closed down in 2015, with the loss of more than 500 jobs.

Breaking his silence for the first time, Mr Tomlinson told the Yorkshire Post the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is jeopardising Britain’s energy security by allowing Eggborough – which provides four per cent of the nation’s power – to close.

“We’re not hopeful there will be a way forward, in all honesty,” he said. “We’ve met with DECC officials several times since December and they’ve simply not been able to explain why they came to the conclusion they did.

“Rather than an objective evaluation of our project, I think it’s a subjective decision that seems to be focusing on supporting primarily onshore and offshore wind, (even though) offshore wind is more expensive than us.

“We are of the opinion that that’s what DECC under this Ministerial leadership have decided to do.”

The accusation was denied by Mr Davey, who said yesterday the Government is investing in a range of green energy projects around Yorkshire including biomass conversion, wind power and carbon capture and storage.

Minister holds out hope: 
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