Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, said that last week’s summit between Prime Minister David Cameron and the UK’s leading energy companies ‘will go nowhere’ unless the government itself is prepared to underwrite investment in new energy plants – including a new 850 megawatt ‘clean coal’ power station on Teesside.
Tom said “David Cameron and Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, met with the UK’s ‘big six’ energy giants earlier this week to persuade them to jointly peg consumer prices and to also invest in new energy plants to overcome the coming energy gap now looming.”
“My own view is that this will be mere window dressing if the Government itself is not prepared to get its hands dirty by itself acting as a seed-priming agency to get this new energy capacity off the ground.”
“The energy sector say, rightly in my opinion, that they need a level playing field for long term capital investment, which has to mean state involvement.”
“Here on Teesside, we have one project which could go ahead with ease if that government were prepared to give a green light. I refer to the project being pushed by Progressive Energy. This would be a major new ultra low emission power station fuelled by coal, but which, crucially, would capture carbine greenhouse gases and pump them through a 500 km pipeline to the North Sea oil fields for storage. This project would be a win-win for both Teesside’s chemical industry as it could also take their excess CO2, and for the North Sea oil industry as the CO2 would act to boost oil production under increased underground pressure.”
“The government has in the past promised to underwrite such new power stations, as they were seen as developing engineering technologies to be a valuable future export market for the chemical engineering sector – and this too, would benefit Teesside. But now the government are dragging their feet on this, with vague talk of ‘cash after completion’ which would totally defeat such a project. If David Cameron is sincere in wanting to make progress, he should sign off this Teesside project. If he doesn’t then he merely hits both Teesside and the UK’s energy future.”