Eggborough Coal Plant Omitted From Renewables Support
By Anne Lewis-Schneider
A list of ten low carbon energy projects have been set for fast-track support, but the Eggborough Coal Plant which wants to convert to biomass has not been included on this list although the plant supplies 4% of the UK’s energy at present. The plant, which is due to be decommissioned, was planning to convert to a biomass energy plant but their exclusion from the support list has now made their continued existence very shaky.
Government is reforming the electricity market with a plan that will replace the Renewables Obligation and bring in the new Contracts for Difference (CfD) plan which is hoped will boost investments from the private sector in the future. Whilst the change-over period is taking place between 2014 and 2017 the UK government has listed ten projects that it feels merits CfD early support to avoid a pause in the low carbon generation of energy. Among the ten projects listed are the Burbo Bank, Hornsea and Walney offshore wind farms, and three biomass conversions two of which are from Drax and another being the Lynemouth Power Plant.
Work on the conversion of Eggborough Coal Plant was due to begin on January 6th but the lack of government support for the project means that the plant will probably have to shut down operations from September 2014 which will effectively remove 1% of the electricity grids capacity. Neil O’Hara who is the chief executive of Eggborough Power Ltd. said that in all probability they would have to stop supplying electricity totally by 2015 unless a plan is instituted to assist them by government. The burning of coal is no longer viable with the EU limitations placed on its member countries to lower carbon emissions and as a result the conversion of coal burning plants to that of biomass burning facilities is the only option open to coal power stations that need to close down.
Government has also proposed that the older more established renewable energy generating projects be opened for auction to increase competition in the sector of renewable energy and also assist the UK in meeting green energy subsidy guidelines set out by the European Commission, and a decision on this will be made early in 2014. The UK government has already given the green light for a capacity market auction which will enable owners of power plants that are able to supply a short notice generation of energy for when the market requires it to benefit, such as gas burning electricity generating plants that can power up when needed to fill a gap in supply. The auction which will pay for standby power will take place in December of 2014.
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