Subjective Objectivity – The Blog of The Reasonable Man

August 16, 2010

Government delays emissions regulation law in victory for fictional coal power plants

Filed under: Uncategorized — mikeshotgun @ 1:26 pm

Personally I don’t think this is much of story beyond the inevitability of deferrals on the legislative timetable. Entitled “Coal-fired power stations win reprieve” you’d be forgiven for thinking that there’d been a court case or some such allowing their go-ahead. The main bit:

The introduction of an EPS was personally championed by David Cameron, George Osborne and Nick Clegg when in opposition; their opposition to Kingsnorth became something of a cause célèbre – and even features in the coalition agreement – but was opposed by energy companies and Tory backbenchers.

The chief executive at one coal-plant operating company warned that the UK’s renewable energy technology – which would be used to help new plants meet the target – was too undeveloped to make the EPS feasible.

Now government sources confirm they will not be bringing forward legislation in the autumn and will instead spend the summer working on “the larger picture”. They will open a consultation on the idea in the autumn with the results being presented to parliament as a white paper in the new year.

So, reading this, it looks as though there has been no change in policy. Indeed, the article seems to concede that this will take place next year instead. But the article leads with the idea that this “raises [the] possibility of [the] dirtiest coal plants going ahead”. It specifically mentions the Kingsnorth plant, which is now a certainty? Not quite:

Environmental campaigners were celebrating tonight after controversial plans for a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent were shelved, as the company behind the scheme postponed the project and blamed the recession.

But that’s just one dirty coal station that’s been proposed. Surely all the others waiting in the wings can now sneak in? Except there are none. With Kingsnorth all but out of the picture, the only remaining station to be built is the Hatfield plant in Yorkshire, which obtained planning permission in 2009. There is one in Scotland, but approval there is for the Scottish government, not Westminster. Indeed, the Kingsnorth plant was the first of its kind for twenty years, and the wave of predicted imitators has not materialised.

So I guess in a way, deferring might allow theoretical coal stations to theoretically go through the approval process. But beyond this, and, more importantly, absent a change in policy, this is a non-story.

Cross-posted at Something Quotable


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