(AFP) – Oct 8, 2009
LONDON — Environmentalists welcomed on Thursday a decision to postpone construction of a coal-fired power station, saying it was a victory for their opposition to new "clean coal" technology.
German energy giant E.ON blamed the global recession for its decision to delay investment plans for the plant at Kingsnorth in Kent, by "up to two to three years".
But green campaigners viewed the decision as a complete cancellation of the project, which has become the focus for protests and concerns over climate change and carbon dioxide emissions.
E.ON said in a statement: "We can confirm that we expect to defer an investment decision on the Kingsnorth proposals for up to two to three years.
"This is based on the global recession, which has pushed back the need for new plant in the UK to around 2016 because of the reduction in demand for electricity."
The decision is a setback for government plans to develop the technology which captures and stores harmful emissions underground.
Despite the announcement, E.ON said "we remain committed to the development of cleaner coal and carbon capture and storage, which we believe have a key role to play alongside renewables, gas and nuclear, in tackling the global threat of climate change."
Thousands of environmental protesters held a Camp for Climate Change at the Kingsnorth site last year and tried to shut down the existing power station there.
Reacting to the decision, the head of Greenpeace UK, John Sauven, said: "This development is extremely good news for the climate and in a stroke significantly reduces the chances of an unabated Kingsnorth plant ever being built.
"The case for new coal is crumbling, with even E.ON now accepting it's not currently economic to build new plants."
Oxfam claimed the plant would have emitted six million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, which it said it equated to 25 developing countries' combined emissions.
Its campaigns director Thomas Schultz-Jagow said: "It is highly doubtful that E.ON would dare to come back in three years' time with plans that are outdated even today."
Friends of the Earth's executive director Andy Atkins said: "We're delighted that E.ON has shelved its Kingsnorth plans -- we should be investing in clean energy sources not building new dirty coal-fired power stations."
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