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OMG!!! We appear to have won!

October 7, 2009

Climate Camp promised to come back to Medway to stop a new power station being built at Kingsnorth and so Tipping Point was set up shop to bolster the local campaign and provide a bridgehead in the area for a future campaign of direct action. We’ve been busy making connections and doing direct action training expecting a long draw out battle but tonight Eon announced it was dropping any immediate plans to build a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth.

While this particular battle is apparently over for now, the war against new coal has yet to be won.

Too Good To Be True?

Eon announced on Wednesday 7th Oct that it was shelving current plans to forge ahead with building a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth. Claiming the decision was a result of lower electricity demand during the recession, the company said “We expect to defer an investment decision on the Kingsnorth proposals for up to two to three years”. Of course the recession claim in nonsense – why would they worry about a temporary reduction in demand ths year when construction will be three or our years and then the power station would runnng for another 40? Not to mention the company happily signed up to the 10:10 campaign and are supposidely going to be helping their customers cut another 10% in 2010.

Puttng aside the reason they give, on the surface it sounds a bit like the victory we’ve been after – no new Kingsnorth – but their announcement isn’t exactly strong with “we expect to defer”. It’s worth remembering that EON would not have been starting construction till after the government coughed up a billion quid of public money to subsidize the project and that wasn’t expected until 2011 anyway. Further more, EON say that they haven’t dropped out of the government competition for the CCS cash and the government seems to suggest their entry will still be considered even though EON have effectively invalidated their entry since they will not meet the 2014 deadline.

The timing of the announcement is also proving somewhat curious – just weeks before the government is due to reveal its policy position after the coal consultation. Some wonder if it could be a pathetic attempt at pressuring the current government into doing their bidding, or perhaps a petulant reaction to hearing that PowerFuel got £165 million in EU funding for CCS at Hatfield rather than EON. Others say EON never intended to make this announcement at all but were forced into it after an off the cuff remark by an executive in Germany was followed up by reporters.

Regardless of Eons true reasons and intentions, Kingsnorth isn’t the end of the fight against new coal and runaway climate change and this is not time to let up on the pressure. This should perhaps been seen as an opportunity to hammer the nails into the coffin of the idea that we can and should attempt to solve the energy problem by reverting to last centuries dirty fuel.

See the KCAM press release

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