U.K. Committing ‘Industrial Vandalism’ by Rejecting Biomass Plan

The U.K.’s rejection of proposals to convert a plant producing almost 4 percent of the nation’s power to biomass from coal is an act of “industrial vandalism” that will cut jobs and threaten energy security, a labor union said.

The government in December selected 10 of 16 projects that may be eligible to receive guaranteed prices for the power they sell as it seeks to reduce carbon emissions from generation. Eggborough Power Ltd. says excluding its plant in Yorkshire may lead to the closing of the facility and the loss of as many as 800 jobs. The government will confirm a decision in the spring.

“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,” Kevin Coyne, national officer for Unite, one of three unions seeking to reverse the decision, said in a letter to local lawmakers.

The government provisionally approved Drax Group Plc (DRX)’s conversion plan under its Final Investment Decision Enabling program, a temporary measure until it’s ready to award so-called contracts-for-difference guaranteeing a price for power sold.

“Given our advanced project readiness and final stage financing, we remain extremely surprised that Eggborough wasn’t selected as one of the projects,” Chief Operating Officer Paul Tomlinson said by e-mail. Subsequent conversations with the government haven’t clarified the situation, he said.

The government in December said 10 of the 16 projects were “provisionally affordable” under budget caps for the program.

To contact the reporter on this story: Louise Downing in London at ldowning4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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