Thursday, 8 October 2009

Kingsnorth postponed, but hold your horses.

E.on have delayed building a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth, citing a lack of demand due to the recession. The energy firm don't think a new plant will be required until 2016.

It's a shame it's taken economics for them to put a hold on the project rather than science, but nonetheless this is still good news. Or is it?

I'm unsure how exactly this postponement constitutes an actual cancellation of the whole project, as the Guardian suggests. E.on themselves have said it's not been cancelled; do we believe them? Well it makes sense. They're a corporation acting in the interests of profit. If there really is little demand for electricity because of the recession, then they don't need to increase their supply of it. However, what is there to stop them picking up where they left off should the economic situation sufficiently improve in the next couple of years?

I'm also skeptical as to what role campaigners have played in this, who on twitter at least seem to be trying to take some credit for the decision. The fact that E.on are still committed to Carbon Capture and Storage hardly suggests they've been persuaded by environmentalists to go green.

I'm not trying to pour cold water on the news, but until we know more about E.on's reasoning we should treat it with a bit of caution. [Edit - as in, do we have any numbers on electricity demand?] Yes, it is fantastic that right now Kingsnorth is not going to be built and we're definitely much closer to it not being built at all, but we're not 100% there just yet.

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