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Eggborough Power Workers To Write to MPs in Fight to Save Jobs


10:52am 13th February 2014

800 people at risk of losing their jobs at Eggborough Power Station are being urged to write to their MPs.

Unions also want anyone whose firm supplies the power plant to get involved.

Eggborough lost out on government funding to convert it from coal to wood burning for electricity just before Christmas.

In the letter to local MPs, Eggborough workers said: “We at Eggborough are very proud to have ‘kept the lights on’ for the last 40 years and we wish to continue to help meet the needs of the UK and avert ‘capacity crunch’ and blackout fears.  Please look into this matter and let us know if there is anything you can do to help.”

Unite national officer for energy Kevin Coyne said: “Writing off Eggborough power station would be an act of industrial vandalism, that puts Britain’s energy security at risk and will lead to thousands of lost jobs.

“The coalition’s energy policy is flawed. Coal fired power stations are closing and there are not enough replacements, yet Ed Davey seems content to lose four per cent of the UK’s energy capacity in one fell swoop. It is no wonder Britain is heading for an energy crisis.  We sincerely hope the energy secretary rethinks this bizarre decision.”

Gary Smith, GMB national secretary for energy, said:  "UK coal stations are becoming uneconomic because of the treasury cash cow - the carbon tax.

“Stations like Eggborough try to do the right thing moving to renewables and they get a kick in the teeth in return.

“The carbon tax is starting to really bite. This is at a time when German energy suppliers are building new coal plants that are exempt  from carbon taxes as they don't have them.

“There are reports that 10 gigawatts of gas-power plants will be dismantled in Germany by 2015 to be replaced with seven gigawatts of coal-fired plants."

Prospect negotiator Mike Macdonald said: “Placing Eggborough out of the frame for the conversion to biomass production is not helping anyone – neither the dedicated staff employed at the site nor the public.  

“The Eggborough conversion plan would place the plant in a position to play a key role in keeping the lights on while helping the country meet its carbon reduction targets.

“We urge the government to rethink the conversion proposals for the good of the plant, the staff employed there and in the supply chain, and for the good of the bill-paying public.”

Paul Tomlinson, Chief Operating Officer at Eggborough, said:

“Supported by a skilled and dedicated workforce, Eggborough is proud to have been keeping Britain’s lights on since 1967. We recognise that the future of the station has consequences for our workforce, our supply chain and the UK as a whole in terms of energy security and energy bills. Working with unions, workforce, suppliers and stakeholders we are making all efforts to secure a positive outcome.

Given our advanced project readiness and final stage financing, we remain extremely surprised that Eggborough was not selected as one of the projects to receive early support via the Final Investment Decision Enabling Process. Subsequent conversations with Government on the methodology and application of the selection criteria have unfortunately not clarified our understanding of the outcome. However it has become evident that this process is not the primary barrier to the project going ahead. With political will, the significant investment, employment and energy security opportunities of this project can still be fully realised, but is in the hands of Ministers.

The Government has taken a very strong hand in designing the policy mechanisms which have decided our future energy mix and has repeatedly stated that it wants energy from a diverse range of sources. However, the outcome currently appears to be some way from the balanced approach the Government is seeking. “

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesperson said:

“Business decisions are ultimately a matter for Eggborough’s owners. There has been a high level of interest in investment contracts for renewable electricity generation but we have always been clear that the budget would be limited. Final decisions on which projects will receive government support under this process will be made this spring.The lights are not going out. We are taking prudent steps to ensure that any risks to security of supply are minimised.”

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