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Unions warn Eggborough will close without biomass subsidy

The GMB and Unite unions have called for an urgent meeting with energy minister Ed Davey after the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) indicated a North Yorkshire power plant biomass conversion may not receive essential funding.

In December it was revealed the Eggborough Power Plant project was left of a list of projects to receive Government funding under the Final Investment Decision Enabling Process (FID).

Bernard McAuley, Unite national officer for construction, wrote to Davey asking for a meeting at his “earliest convenience” to discuss the plant’s future.

He wrote: “We understand from speaking with the representatives of the major companies involved in negotiations to construct the next generation of new biomass plants, the client must reach financial closure before the year end but as such they are been prevented from doing so due to late changes under FID.”

The biomass conversion, which had originally been marked down for Government funding, could be left “high and dry” according to GMB national officer for engineering construction Phil Whitehurst.

Whitehurst claimed the neighbouring Drax power station had been favoured at the expense of Eggborough and warned that 850 in-house workers could be laid off as a result.

“In addition a £60m investment at Immingham Docks, and another one at Teesport will be shelved,” he added. “These port facilities would have handled the biomass fuel imports. The rail networks to handle the movement of the fuel from the docks to the power station from both ports will also be shelved.”

Whitehurst warned that without subsidies the station would close.

He said: “The imminent closure of Eggborough is another indictment of the failing energy policy of this Government. This power station is a viable generation facility if converted to biomass.

“There are foreign investors interested, but without the biomass subsidies the investment will not happen.”

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