All power to the power station
WORKERS, FEB 2008 ISSUE
The decision by Medway Council in Kent to support the planning permission for the refurbishment of the Kingsnorth coal-burning power station is to be applauded and supported. The private generator Eon's plan to invest over £1 billion in the mothballed station is also to be welcomed.
Technological solutions to climate and environmental issues are the only real option. The new power station will be state of the art in clean coal technology, with modern carbon capture and storage facilities.
But the final decision rests with the government. Refusal to support the planning application will exacerbate Britain's energy planning problems, guaranteeing that energy shortfalls – power cuts – return to the agenda as in the 1960s. Refusal to support the modernised station would be a clear indication that the government will not back British companies leading worldwide in research, development and investment in clean coal technology. This technology will grow as developing industrial nations such as China and India – let alone established industrial countries – look to clean coal as gas and oil become dearer or run out.
Kingsnorth would supply over 1.5 million homes in the South East. Energy planning is a long-term project and the government cannot afford to dither or rely upon renewable industry solutions – wind power, solar power, wave power – to meet Britain's (and the world's) ever-increasing demands for energy.