The warning follows yesterday’s announcement of the closure of Eggborough power station, which the union described as another economic blow for Yorkshire.
On behalf of 24,000 scientists, engineers, managers and other professionals in the energy sector Prospect negotiator Michael Macdonald said: “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 form the grid and the use of inefficient 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
· 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.
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